In June 2015, Gloucester, Massachusetts, Police Chief Leonard Campanello pioneered a compassionate alternative to handling drug addiction as a crime. Instead of arresting people who essentially had a brain disorder, their “Angel Program” helped hundreds of people get treatment instead of punishment.

The Gloucester Police Department’s “angels” were trained volunteers who made phone calls to drug rehab facilities around the country. In Portland, Maine, only one hour of training was needed to produce angels for the Scarborough Police Department.

The Midcoast Recovery Coalition (MCRC) is poised to launch its own Angels Program in 2017, working with the local police departments and the Knox County Sheriff’s Department. Many details will need to be worked out but this will begin a change that is long overdue in our community. Everyone here can play a role. Stay tuned.

Midcoast Maine angels can take many forms. Pregnant mothers face many challenges. Not only do they find getting treatment difficult, they face many obstacles keeping their family together. Sadly, many children born drug affected are at high risk for many problems. Very little is in place in midcoast Maine to help families succeed. So, we need angels for mothers and their families.

The average age people get addicted to drugs is 15 years.  If teens had one or more caring, compassionate adults in their lives, many of them would be able to avoid addiction. For lack of a few angels, many children are choosing a dark path of drugs instead.

Most people in local Maine jails, including the Knox County Jail, have committed relatively minor crimes related to their drug addiction. While in jail, they receive little help for their addiction. Upon release into the community, most are not given enough support to avoid failure. Many end up back in jail, unavailable to their families, and languish on a path to nowhere. Angels can make all the difference to help these good people get their lives back.

Thousands of people are addicted to opiates in Knox County. All of them need our love and help. Most of them lack the support they need to reclaim their lives. Having someone who cares can make all the difference between ongoing crisis or recovery.

Be an angel. Please contact MCRC at 701-1182 or email MCRC at info@midcoastrecovery.org for more information.