A person holds Narcan, a device designed to deliver naloxone. Naloxone can help reverse the effects of an overdose, and is being offered for free from health providers to help mitigate Maine's opioid crisis. Credit: Micky Bedell / BDN

Maine activated a new text alert system for the first time last week after three drug overdoses were reported in Portland. The SPIKE Auto Text Program issues an alert after three overdoses have occurred within 24 hours in a given county.

Sybil Mazerolle of the state Office of Behavioral Health said on Maine Calling Monday that the goal is to alert the public about a potentially lethal batch of drugs in a community and to connect them to resources for help.

“For themselves or on behalf of family members to treatment, recovery, and harm reduction services,” Mazerolle said.

Mazerolle said that anyone can sign up for the program by texting SPIKE to 855-963-5669.

Sybil Mazerolle said the texts also connect people to the Know Your Options website, which lists community resources for help and where to get supplies to prevent overdose deaths.

“They can have naloxone on hand, which is really important in keeping their loved ones alive,” Mazerolle said.

The SPIKE program launched in June. Maine is the first in the US to launch the program statewide.