Lighted paper bags stand as memorials to those lost at a drug overdose victims' vigil in Portland's Monument Square in August 2015. Credit: Troy R. Bennett | BDN

Maine is seeing a slight dip in the number of people who have died from a drug overdose so far this year.

Maine’s director of opioid response, Gordon Smith, said 201 people died in the first four months of the year, compared to 215 during the same time period last year.

“We are cautiously optimistic that things are improving,” Smith said during a virtual meeting Thursday with a coalition of agencies and advocacy organizations known as Penobscot County Cares. “That doesn’t mean that we’re not concerned about every death that does occur.”

Fentanyl was the most frequent cause of overdose deaths, though it’s nearly always found in combination with other drugs.

Smith highlighted efforts by the Mills administration to boost treatment, including the recent announcement that 140 residential treatment beds will be added by the end of the year from Portland to Presque Isle, including six beds for Wabanaki Public Health.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.