Sen. Collins talks influence of drug crisis on deciding whether to run for governor

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WASHINGTON D.C. (NEWS CENTER) – As time runs out for Sen. Susan Collins to make her decision on whether or not to run for governor, addressing the drug crisis remains an important issue for her.

NEWS CENTER visited Collins in Washington as she attended a hearing on addressing addiction nationwide Thursday.

RELATED STORY: Collins feels tug of Maine throughout decision-making process

“A lot has been done to address the opioid epidemic in our state in across the country,” she said in a sit-down interview following that hearing. “But it doesn't seem to be having the kind of impact that we would hope to see.”

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Collins shared with the panel in that hearing the staggering impact the drug epidemic has had on the state of Maine. The number of deaths due to overdose are right on track with last year, when 376 Mainers died.

She called for more to be done in a timely manner.

“This is very discouraging and upsetting to me,” Collins said.

When asked which role she could have more influence in, she would not

“I think there's a role in both places. We don't have enough treatment facilities in the state of Maine and I think helping to educate people that this treatment facilities are necessary as part of the challenge in our state,” she said.

RELATED STORY: Opioid crisis national emergency could increase funds for treatment

The panel at Thursday's hearing was talking about the possible advancements in pharmaceuticals to make pain relievers without addictive properties.

“That's really the long term solution to this problem,” Collins said.

The drug crisis is just one of many hot button issues, including health care and now even gun control, Collins is working to address as senator. 

Collins said her final decision is not likely to come until late next week.