A Falmouth Police Department outreach program has helped more than 140 people find the road to recovery from addictions over the past three and a half years.

The department recently received a $16,000 state grant to keep the program up and running.

Officer Kathleen Oelschlegel, a trained recovery coach, has run the program since its start in 2019 as part of the department’s efforts to combat the opioid crisis. She works with people who are addicted to other substances as well, including alcohol.

“Addiction knows no socioeconomic boundaries, and Falmouth is no exception,” Oelschlegel said.

There were 10,110 overdoses reported in Maine in 2022, including 716 suspected or confirmed deaths, according to a December report by the Maine Attorney General’s Office.

Clients are referred to Oelschlegel by other Falmouth officers, and she works with them and their family members to get recovery resources lined up.


“It’s a no-cost outreach initiative,” she said. “The recovery coach provides a safe, informal, and confidential environment that allows for mutual trust and open dialogue.”

It allows officers to help stem the cycle of substance misuse, Police Chief John Kilbride said.

“I’ve had officers arrest folks and then try to get them help after the fact,” Kilbride said. “We aren’t going to walk away from the fact that someone needs help.”

Initially, the police department was absorbing the cost of the program into their operating budget. The state grant completely covers the cost of the program, as well as Oelschlegel’s part-time salary as recovery coach.

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