For Immediate Release
Friday, Sept. 23, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Ellsworth, Maine Police Department Partners with P.A.A.R.I. to Begin Addiction Recovery Initiative
ELLSWORTH, Maine — Chief Pete Bickmore is pleased to announce that the Ellsworth Police Department has partnered with Healthy Acadia, other Hancock County law enforcement partners and the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative to begin their addiction recovery program, Project Hope (Heroin-Opiate Prevention Effort).
The program will launch during an event at Ellsworth City Hall on Friday, Sept. 30. Initially, Project HOPE will be open to accept participants at the Ellsworth Police Department one day a week – on Tuesdays, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is modeled after the Gloucester ANGEL Initiative and the Scarborough, Maine Police Department’s Operation HOPE. While based in Ellsworth, it is expected to serve residents in the greater area and beyond.
Ellsworth Police will work collaboratively with Healthy Acadia, a nonprofit that works to address critical health problems throughout Hancock and Washington counties, to run the initiative. Project HOPE has secured initial seed funding for the program and is working to secure additional needed funding from grants and community support.
Currently, Maine is facing an opiate and substance use epidemic that has a devastating effect on individuals, families and communities. For individuals seeking help, treatment options are limited and resources scarce. Project HOPE is a police-led initiative and community-wide effort that works to connect individuals seeking treatment with recovery services locally and out of state. Those who ask for help will be welcomed into the police station and connected with recovery supports, and following their treatment, they will be referred to support services to continue their healthier lifestyle. Anyone coming to the police station is encouraged to hand over their drugs and paraphernalia and will not be arrested for doing so.
Additionally, Project HOPE will focus on increasing awareness regarding the availability of treatment options to community members struggling with substance use disorders. Collaborating with existing community partners, the Ellsworth Police Department is working to reduce the stigma associated with substance use disorders, and is increasing public awareness surrounding the disease of addiction. Project HOPE will provide public presentations to civic groups, service organizations, the medical community, academic audiences, and other law enforcement personnel as additional educational and outreach opportunities for the community.
“Our hope is that participation in this program, both from residents seeking help and community volunteers, will reduce stigma and reinforce our recovery initiative,” Chief Bickmore said. “The Scarborough Police Department has placed nearly 200 people into treatment through their Operation HOPE program and we will aim to replicate their success moving forward. We’re so pleased to have the support of P.A.A.R.I. throughout this process, and we greatly appreciate their $2,500 startup grant that makes it possible for us to launch this initiative. We’d also like to thank Senator Brian Langley for his generosity in planning a fundraiser at his restaurant, The Union River Lobster Pot, on Friday, Sept. 30, which will provide additional key support to launch Project HOPE.”
Ellsworth Police will work with Healthy Acadia and the Downeast Substance Treatment Network partners to place participants into treatment, regardless of their financial situation. As a P.A.A.R.I. partner, the Ellsworth Police Department will also have access to a nationwide network of treatment centers to offer recovery services to program participants. Police and firefighters will also work directly with treatment centers to secure scholarships and fully-funded treatment options for those struggling with the disease of addiction.
Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello and John Rosenthal, co-founders of P.A.A.R.I., applaud the Ellsworth Police Department for joining its Maine counterparts in their efforts to change the stigma of addiction and assist residents struggling with the disease into treatment. They will work closely with Chief Bickmore and the entire department to further their mission and bring about positive change throughout the state.
“P.A.A.R.I. looks forward to working closely with Chief Bickmore and the Ellsworth Police Department to help save lives from the horrific disease of addiction and increase access to much needed long term treatment for people throughout the state of Maine,” added Rosenthal.
About Healthy Acadia:
Founded in 2001, Healthy Acadia engages in a broad range of initiatives that build healthier communities and make it easier for people to lead healthy lives across Hancock and Washington counties. These initiatives include Substance Use Disorder Prevention & Access to Treatment, Positive Youth Development, Clinical Health Access, Chronic Disease Prevention and Management, Access to Transportation, Tobacco-free Communities, Nutrition Education, Active Communities, Healthy Aging, Community Food Access & Food Security, Healthy Environments, and Worksite Wellness.
The Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) was launched to support police departments around the nation as they work to help those suffering from the disease of addiction. The United States faces a nationwide heroin and opioid epidemic, with more people now dying from overdoses than from car accidents in this country. Rather than arrest our way out of the problem of drug addiction, P.A.A.R.I. committed police departments:
- Encourage opioid drug users to seek recovery
- Help distribute life saving opioid blocking drugs to prevent and treat overdoses
- Connect those struggling with the disease of addiction to treatment programs and facilities
- Provide resources to other police departments and communities that want to do more to fight the opioid addiction epidemic
P.A.A.R.I. was created by Gloucester Police Chief Leonard Campanello and John Rosenthal to bridge the gap between police departments and those struggling with the disease of addiction.