AUGUSTA – A bill to try to address the problem of substance abuse and addiction among fishermen in the state is moving forward.

Rep. Mick Devin, a Newcastle Democrat, proposed the bill to establish a task force to tackle the problem. The Legislative Council voted on Thursday to allow the bill to go to the full Legislature early next year.

Devin says addiction among fishermen in Maine is a threat to “the bedrock of our marine economy.” If approved, his bill would create a task force of fishermen, health care professionals, community leaders and others to deliver recommendations to the Legislature about how to help.

The Office of the Maine Attorney General said 376 people died of drug overdoses in the state in 2016. That is the highest number on record.

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