We want your ideas for how to address Maine’s opiate epidemic.

The Bangor Daily News is hosting the One Life Project at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 4, at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. There, people will answer questions to come up with specific steps to ease the opiate epidemic.

Sen. Angus King will speak. The Bangor area Community Health Leadership Board will review and potentially pursue some of the ideas that come out of the evening.

We want as much input as possible, so we’re starting to gather ideas now. Below is one of several questions. (Find the rest here.) Send us your answers, big and small.

We expect to run out of room, so please register soon:

Helping young people

Young people are among the most difficult to treat, but helping them effectively may be key to stemming the larger epidemic. That’s because most people with a substance use disorder started using drugs before age 18 and developed their addiction by age 20, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

A host of issues can contribute to someone’s addiction, including genetics and trauma at a young age. Research has shown that multiple adverse childhood experiences — such as having an absent parent or being around violence — can increase the risk someone will use drugs later.

There are plenty of programs aimed at addressing youth violence and drug use, but few are any help. The Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado Boulder hosts the online resourceBlueprints for Healthy Youth Development,” which provides a registry of programs that have shown a positive impact based on research. The center has reviewed more than 1,400 programs and found less than 5 percent to be effective. Some were even harmful.

Many of the most effective interventions for youth do not focus on drug use specifically but rather aim to build young people’s social skills more generally.

So, what should we do about all this?

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Erin Rhoda

Erin Rhoda is the editor of Maine Focus, a team that conducts journalism investigations and projects at the Bangor Daily News. She also writes for the newspaper, often centering her work on domestic and...