A job of a police officer is to serve and protect. There will be a lot of serving going on Monday night, April 11th at Helen's Restaurant, located at 55 Downeast Highway in Ellsworth from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. as members of the Ellsworth Police Department will be waiting on tables. They hope you'll tip generously to support Downeast Project HOPE.

Launched in 2016 by the Ellsworth Police Department in partnership with Healthy Acadia, Project HOPE (Heroin-Opiate Prevention Effort) is a police-led initiative and community wide effort that works to connect area residents seeking treatment with recovery resources and treatment they need, locally and/or out of state.

Project HOPE partners work to place participants into appropriate treatment, regardless of their financial situation. Those who ask for help are welcomed into the police station and connected with recovery supports and treatment services, as well as offered referrals to supportive services to continue their healthier lifestyle.

Tracy Crossman, Healthy Acadia's Recovery Resource Navigator and coordinator for Project HOPE said "The search for treatment is incredibly difficult and for someone who is struggling with substance use disorder it can seem unmanageable. Project HOPE Angels take on that challenge and can be the difference between continued substance use or accessing treatment."

Amplified by the many challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Maine's opiate and substance use crisis continues to impact individuals, families and communities, with many areas experiencing their highest drug overdose numbers to date. Increasingly alarmed by the continued increase in opioid overdoses and deaths in the region, Ellsworth City Manager and Police Chief Glenn Mosier is working with Healthy Acadia to boost awareness and utilization of Project HOPE's services and to raise much needed funds for the program. "I just wish more folks would take advantage of all we offer' said Mosier.

Project HOPE accepts participants at the Ellsworth Police Department. Walk-ins are accepted but phone calls in advance are encouraged. Participants are screened during an initial intake session and paired with a volunteer "Angel" who will work to help find an appropriate treatment program and/or recovery supports. Participants are encouraged to turn in their drugs and paraphernalia and will not be penalized for doing so.

To learn more about Project HOPE, connect with any Ellsworth Police Officer or contact Tracy Crossman via email, or by calling 610-0386. To connect with Project HOPE call the Ellsworth Police Department at 207-667-2168 and ask for Project HOPE assistance.

If you would like to make a contribution to Project HOPE and can't attend the fundraiser on April 11th you can do so online or by calling Shoshona Smith at 667-7171 extension 201

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