Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight, we have Narcan, the return of Trump (scroll down for the details), and an update on the drought. Let’s get to it.
What we’re talking about
Jake Bleiberg reported this morning:
Portland police officers will start carrying Narcan, a medication that can save lives by reversing the effects of a drug overdose.
All patrol officers in the city will carry the drug, also known by its pharmaceutical name naloxone, and every department officer has been trained in its use, Police Chief Michael Sauschuck announced Friday morning.
There have already been 21 overdose deaths in Portland this year and the police department has responded to a “couple hundred” overdose calls, Sauschuck said. Introducing Narcan is part of the department’s effort to address the opioid epidemic in Portland, which has also included hiring a substance use disorder liaison to help police approach addiction “as a medical problem, not a criminal issue,” according to a city statement.
“I don’t think that Narcan is a long-term solution,” said Sauschuck. “But it is a miracle drug. It is saving lives in real time.” …
The medication was provided by the Maine Attorney General’s office, which previously supplied many other police departments, including those in Westbrook and Bangor, across the state with doses of the drug.
It has been carried by paramedics and firefighters in Portland for several years, and Sauschuck said that the proximity of other first responders initially made him skeptical that police in the city also needed to carry the lifesaving drug.
But the deepening opioid epidemic led the chief to change his mind. Last year, the Portland fire department administered Narcan 161 times, a number that Sauschuck said is up roughly 50 percent from 2014.
Related: Read Seth Koenig’s story from February on Oliver Bradeen, the Portland Police Department’s substance abuse disorder liaison.
Programming note: You can now sign up for this newsletter by texting PORTLAND to 66866. If you already subscribe, nevermind! But if you came upon this link on our site or a friend forwarded it to you, it’s now even easier to sign up.
In other news
Guess who’s coming back to Portland? — Michael Shepherd writes:
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is planning a Thursday rally in Portland, according to Portland spokeswoman Jess Grondin, who confirmed that the Trump campaign has booked the Portland Expo for an appearance Thursday.
It would be Trump’s fourth visit to Maine this campaign cycle. He was last here in August for a rally at Portland’s Merrill Auditorium. He was in Bangor in late June and rallied at The Westin Portland Harborview Hotel ahead of Maine’s March caucuses.
The drought is spreading across Maine — Peter McGuire reports: “More than 1.05 million Mainers are now living in drought, according to the updated model from the U.S. Drought Monitor, which is 79 percent of the state’s 1.33 million residents.”
How Portland’s new arts advocate plans to grow the creative economy— Kathleen Pierce learns more about Dinah Minot’s plans for Creative Portland:
Beyond established studios such as the old Bakery Studios in Portland and factory space in Westbrook, Minot wants to push for affordable studio space for artists in a city where rent is rising.
“I will encourage space in big buildings like The State Theatre. Portland Stage has a lot of space. We need more collectives, more pop-up galleries, more temporary galleries,” she said.
The Big Idea
How young is too young to come out as transgender? — From Buzzfeed:
The most extreme members of each group have likened the other’s approach — whether pushing kids to identify as transgender or pushing them to repress their true gender identities — to “child abuse.” Unfortunately, there isn’t much hard data to help settle the debate: No study has looked at what happens later in life to kids who are allowed to socially transition before puberty.
Which leaves families like Nicole’s at a crossroads. While scientists carry out studies that will take many more years, a growing number of parents have to make decisions about their kids right now. Do they let their kids transition without knowing, for sure, that they’ll grow up to feel the same?
ICYMI, read South Portlander Emily Wedick’s story from yesterday on how her family supported a daughter who was born male.
Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Dan MacLeod at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet @dsmacleod.
As always, like BDN Portland on Facebook for more local coverage.