Prescription drug in a box against a blue background.
In this July 20, 2017, file photo, a package of Narcan is seen at the Walgreens on Broadway in Bangor. Credit: Ashley L. Conti / BDN

Beginning Wednesday, every person released from the York County Jail will be offered a harm reduction bag to help them safely transition back into the community.

York County Sheriff William King said the bags contain resources for help with housing, substance use disorder and other supports, along with the opioid overdose reversing drug Narcan and fentanyl test strips.

“Even if they don’t use the opioid themselves, they probably know someone who does. Or at least now they have Narcan and they’re being released and that’s another, what I consider another soldier, that can help somebody if they witness an overdose,” King said.

King said the bags are being made available with the help of Maine Behavioral Health, Southern Maine Health and Sweetser. Research shows that individuals are at a substantially higher risk for overdose in the first few weeks after they are released from prison or jail.

This year is shaping up to be Maine’s deadliest year for overdose deaths, with an average of 50 being recorded each month.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.