WDEA's Chris Popper sat down with Ellsworth Police Chief Harold "Pete" Bickmore and Healthy Acadia's Denise Black to discuss "Project Hope" which is being unveiled on Friday, September 30th. The goal of Project Hope is to place people suffering from heroin and opiate addiction, as well as other substance use disorders, into high quality treatment and rehabilitation programs.

It is important to note that Project Hope is NOT being funded with any taxpayer funds. Initial funding has come from grants, but for the program to succeed, additional funding will be needed. Project Hope is seeking additional grants and donations from the community. To make a donation, please send a check payable to Project Hope c/o Chief Pete Bickmore Ellsworth Police Department 1 City Hall Plaza, Ellsworth Maine 04605

Project Hope consists of the following elements

Law Enforcement Training - Ellsworth Police Officers and Officers throughout Hancock County have and are receiving special training on addiction related issues, to include the perspective of those in recover. This enables officers to better interact with and assist those suffering from addiction

Public Education and Outreach - As officers respond to calls for service, the officer provides a Project Hope flyer to the individual or family members and offer police support and assistance in getting help.

Drug Turn-in - Any person who enters the Ellsworth Police Department and requests help under Project Hope is allowed to voluntarily turn in heroin, opioids, needles and drug paraphernalia without fear of arrest or charges.

Treatment and Assistance - Any person who enters the Ellsworth Police Department and requests help for their addiction under Project Hope is initially screened by a police officer to determine eligibility for participation in a treatment program. If they are found to meet the program eligibility requirements they are assigned a Project Hope volunteer "Angel" who walks them through the process toward detox and recovery - to include accelerated placement in rehabilitation and treatment programs whenever possible. In those instances where a person is found ineligible to participate in such a program, or placement is not immediately available, alternative support and assistance will be offered through local community resources.

If you have questions about the program, you are encouraged to call Chief Bickmore or Detective Dotty Small at the Ellsworth Police Department at 207-667-2168 or Denise Black at Healthy Acadia at 207-667-7171 or emailing her at denise@healthyacadia.org