The Ellsworth Police Department and Healthy Acadia are working together to help find rehab facilities for opioid addicts, even if it means sending them out of state.

It seems like such a contradiction - going to the police station to ask for help with an addiction to illegal substances. But that's just what the folks at the Ellsworth Police Department hope will happen. They've partnered with Healthy Acadia and the Hancock County Sheriff's Office to institute a program that's worked well in Southern Maine.

Project Hope started up last week in Ellsworth and, so far, has had one person take advantage of the program. Chief Pete Bickmore told us that he knelt down beside the young woman and asked her if she could believe that she was coming to the cops for help. The woman laughed and agreed that it did seem pretty strange. But she also trusted that they could find her the help she needed.

And that's really what Project Hope is all about, finding help. It's not as easy as it sounds. Maine has a desperate shortage of recovery beds at treatment centers. And if the patient doesn't have insurance then it's nearly impossible to access rehab services. So, often, the folks at Project Hope are calling out-of-state facilities and sending the participants there.

It's an innovative way to deal with a growing issue in the state. But it can't operate on its own. Project Hope will be funded through grants and donations, with no cost to taxpayers. So organizers are hoping that area residents and business will donate whatever they can. Financial donations are obviously welcomed. But they can also use basic necessities for people who are at their lowest point and often are sent out of state, without time to go home and pick up things like toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, or soap. Those donations can be dropped off at the Ellsworth Police Department.

For more information on Project Hope, contact the Ellsworth Police Department, (207) 667-2133. You can hear Chief Bickmore, Detective Dottie Small, and Denise Black of Healthy Acadia talk about Project Hope this Sunday morning on our public service program, Maine Concerns.