BAR HARBOR, Maine (WABI) - According to a report released Thursday by the Maine Attorney General’s Office, 716 people died from drug overdoses in Maine in 2022, 80 more than in 2021.

Nearly 80 percent of overdose deaths were linked to fentanyl.

The Mount Desert and Bar Harbor Fire Departments started sponsoring training in October to help those in crisis, and are continuing that training this month.

“We educate citizens on how to identify an overdose, what the signs and symptoms look like, how to respond to that,” said Bar Harbor Deputy Fire Chief John Lennon. “Call 9-1-1 immediately, and if they are NARCAN trained and they do have NARCAN, how to give it and when to give it.”

The training sessions are run by Bar Harbor Deputy Fire Chief John Lennon.

“It’s part of our public outreach programs that we’ve always been doing; fire prevention, CPR, things of that nature,” Lennon said. “It was just a natural transition for us to get involved in this program as well, and empower citizens to make a difference.”

The next training session is at the Bass Harbor Library this Thursday, with another planned at the Northeast Harbor Library February 16th.

“The quicker a citizen first responder can intervene in that situation increases the chance of a better outcome for the patient because they’re probably unconscious, not breathing or barely breathing,” said Lennon. “Hopefully, we can get the patient back to breathing normally before even emergency services arrive.”

There are a number of resources available state-wide to get NARCAN, and Lennon says if you’re in the MDI area, you can always stop into the Bar Harbor fire station.

“There’s no questions asked” Lennon said. “We don’t need to know who you are. There’s no form to fill out or anything. Just come in and say, ‘I’d like to get some NARCAN,’ and we give it to you, chat with you for a few minutes if you’d like to. If not, that’s it. It’s a low-stress, low-key operation.”

For more information on the upcoming free NARCAN training, call Mount Desert Fire Department Chief Michael Bender at 276-5111.

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