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Updated: May 6, 2024

$3.1M expansion doubles Portland recovery center’s detox capacity

people standing and sitting and talking Photo / Courtesy, Office of Gov. Janet Mills Milestone’s executive director, Thomas Doherty, wtih Gov. Janet Mills, joins staffers in a discussion of the Portland nonprofit’s work.

After a three-year search for the right location, followed by six months of renovations, Milestone Recovery has finished work on an additional, larger facility that nearly doubles the Portland nonprofit's capacity to help people undergoing detox from substance use.

The $3.1 million expansion, at 10 Andover Road in Portland, provides 30 beds in single and double rooms for Milestone's medically supervised residential detoxification withdrawal unit. It will move its detox operation from Milestone’s 65 India St. location, on Munjoy Hill in Portland, where the organization has 16 beds as well as administrative offices and other services.

The new facility is expected to open later this month.

“We’re thrilled to have taken this major step in easing access to substance use treatment for our most vulnerable Mainers,” said Thomas Doherty, Milestone’s executive director. “It takes a lot of courage for someone to ask for help overcoming a substance use disorder, and it’s heartbreaking when we have to tell them no because there’s no space in the program. This step will let us say yes more often.”

Gov. Janet Mills, who cut the ribbon on the facility last week, said, “This new facility will open the door to critical treatment that can set Maine people struggling with substance use disorder on the path to life-long recovery."

The project was made possible by a combination of state, federal, local and philanthropic funding, including $2.1 million from the Maine Department of Health & Human Services. 

Doherty has said that he expects Milestone will employ a little over 100 staffers across its locations when the Andover Street space is at full capacity. The staffers will mainly include nurses, counselors, detox attendants and peer support workers.

Searching for the right spot

Milestone bought the property last fall for $2.5 million, in a transaction brokered by Justin Lamontagne from the Dunham Group and Chris Paszyc from the Boulos Co.

The property search encompassed several cities and towns. Milestone looked at 30 or 40 different buildings.

2 people standing in parking lot in front of building
File Photo / Tim Greenway
Milestone Recovery’s executive director, Thomas Doherty, left, and Justin Lamontagne from the Dunham Group said they looked at 30 or 40 different buildings in their search for an additional location.

The search had specific requirements that included the need to find privacy, security and appropriate zoning. Milestone was looking to own rather than lease. Other parameters included being accessible to Greater Portland, ideally on a bus line, in a building that would accommodate overnight sleeping arrangements, and a commercial kitchen and laundry.

The Andover Road building fit many of the criteria.

The location is a 9,460-square-foot former medical office building, about 20 years old, that was in great shape and included necessary infrastructure such as life safety systems. It was previously occupied by Maine Medical Partners’ Casco Bay Surgery, which is now at 55 Spring St. in Scarborough.

About $500,000 was needed for renovations, including installing a new fire alarm system, four showers, a commercial kitchen and a laundry. Medical spaces were reconfigured as fireproofed bedrooms. 

About Milestone Recovery

Milestone Recovery is a nonprofit that provides programs and services for people who suffer from homelessness and/or substance abuse. Services include residential treatment, emergency shelter and recovery housing. Milestone was founded in Scarborough in 1967 as a detoxification program with services focused on people with addiction to alcohol or other drugs who could not afford to pay the full cost of their care.

Since then, it has established a residential treatment program, a permanent housing program, an emergency men’s shelter and a medically supervised residential detoxification withdrawal unit.

There's also a mobile unit called the Homeless Outreach and Mobile Engagement (HOME) Team, which provides services to individuals living on the streets of Portland and suffering with chronic mental health and substance use disorders; a housing navigator program; and a Portland residence called Mary Dowd House, which provides safe, affordable, supportive housing for women in recovery.

Medically assisted treatment can help manage the painful and often debilitating symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol, opioids, and other addictive substances.

Expanding the availability of medication assisted treatment options, such as methadone and buprenorphine, is a priority of Maine’s opioid response strategic action plan.

Since Mills took office, Maine has expanded the number of treatment beds for substance use disorder by 50%. In the last year, Maine has opened 50 beds in Auburn, Bangor, Windham, Presque Isle, Limestone and Portland, with 10 beds each planned in Androscoggin and Washington counties.

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