PRCC launches Pathways of Hope 

Brianna Ebling, the resource navigator for Pathways of Hope, helps a participant in the program

Portland Recovery Community Center, in partnership with Cumberland County Public Health Department has launched Pathways of Hope, a program that provides support to people with substance use disorder by connecting them with residential treatment or recovery housing as an alternative to the criminal justice system. 

Pathways of Hope at PRCC, replaces Operation HOPE, which was discontinued by Scarborough Police Department earlier this year. Scarborough police in partnership with PRCC, founded Operation HOPE in 2015 in response to the growing number of overdose deaths in Southern Maine, and a desire for law enforcement to be a part of helping people find treatment and recovery. 

Thanks to a $365,000 grant from the Maine Department of Public Safety and leadership from Cumberland County, PRCC is building on the success of Operation Hope and offering Pathways of Hope to continue helping those in need of treatment and recovery housing. 

In 2022, there were more than 2,000 drug overdoses in Cumberland County and 130 overdose deaths, the highest of any county in the state. People released from prison or jail to the community are up to 40 times more likely to die of an opioid overdose than the general population, especially within the first few weeks after reentering the community.  

“We are proud to partner with Cumberland County to help people with substance use disorder obtain treatment and recovery housing,” Leslie Clark, executive director of Portland Recovery Community Center. “The need is greater than ever. People seeking help with addiction can come to PRCC and we will help them navigate treatment options. We are grateful for the County’s support, which is helping meet this critical need and undoubtedly save lives.” 

PRCC recently hired Brianna Ebling as the resource navigator for Pathways of Hope. Bri is a public health recovery advocate, who first came to PRCC as a member over a year ago. She assists people seeking placement for residential treatment or recovery housing and connects them to support services at PRCC or their local recovery community center. She works with participants from the time of placement and continues to follow-up and offer additional support where needed.  

“I feel so honored and grateful to have this amazing opportunity to work and give back in the community where I began my recovery journey,” Bri said. “Receiving an Operation Hope scholarship gave me the chance to get where I am today. As a person in recovery, my life has become so full and rewarding. I now get to be of service and show others this is possible, and we do recover!” 

The Pathways of Hope program is strengthened by partnerships with police departments across Cumberland County and Behavioral Health Liaisons embedded within those departments, who interact with and divert people with substance use disorder to PRCC. 

People seeking help with addiction can meet with Bri at PRCC, located at 102 Bishop St. in Portland. For more information, call 207-553-2575 or go to PRCC.