Lewiston Police say an officer who died earlier this year passed away from an accidental fentanyl overdose.

In a media release on the department's Facebook page, Chief Brian O'Malley announced that Officer Nicholas Meserve died as a result of acute fentanyl intoxication and that it was an accidental death. Meserve died at home in Lewiston on February 8 at the age of 34. The cause and manner of his death were determined by the Chief Medical Examiner's Office.

Chief O'Malley called Officer Meserve's death a very personal matter for his family and says he hopes it's a reminder to everyone that the opioid epidemic touches all corners of the community. He says the Lewiston Police Department maintains an employee assistance program and a peer support team. He says there was nothing in the department's regular performance reviews or public complaints that would indicate that Meserve was battling a drug dependency issue.

Negotiations are underway, according to the chief, for the city to establish a drug testing policy with the police unions, as a means of identifying potential substance use issues. Resources would also be provided for employees who are dealing with addiction.