For people suffering from addiction and seeking help, traveling to the mainland for detox can be a journey full of pitfalls, strewn with points of possible failure along the way. There is the ferry ride with fellow Islanders interested in your business. There is the need to pass by liquor stores on the way to the detox facility. And finally, when you do get to a detox facility, a bed may or may not be available.

That has all changed now thanks to a pilot program begun in 2016 by the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and Martha’s Vineyard Community Services that makes available ready access to beds at one of two detox facilities on the mainland. The two facilities are Gosnold and Stanley Street Treatment and Resources (SSTAR) in Fall River.

In the past fourteen months the program has seen brisk participation and given more than a hundred Islanders a leg up on the road to recovery. Funding for the program comes from a generous private donor who wishes to remain anonymous.

It is hoped that the pilot can become permanent.

Statistics released last week by the hospital and Community Services about the program also turned up another unsurprising fact: the majority of the people who participated in the detox program to date were suffering from alcohol addiction (76 per cent of 111 patients who requested detox services). A much smaller number were suffering from opioid addiction (13 per cent, or 11 patients total).

The heroin problem has been getting headlines in recent months and years, and there is no question that the opioid problem is real here, as it is throughout New England and around the country. But the pernicious problem with alcohol abuse is also longstanding on the Island and too easily swept under the rug, or worse, accepted as part of the culture. The unique ups and downs of Island life — party central in summer when the place is awash in vacationers who are here for a good time, followed by deep isolation in winter — only serves to exacerbate the problem.

The Vineyard has a strong help network for people suffering from addiction — including regular meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and other similar self-help groups. Vineyard House, the Island’s only residential sober living campus, provides a safe, supportive place for Islanders to call home when they return from treatment on the mainland and are re-entering Vineyard life.

And the network keeps growing stronger. Trained recovery coaches who travel with people to and from mainland detox centers and provide support in other ways too, have been a boon to the pilot program

A wide-ranging coalition that formed in response to the heroin problem now meets regularly. The group includes police, counselors, health care workers, clergy and others. By most accounts the group is actively engaged in finding strategies and solutions to combat addiction across the spectrum.

The memorandum of understanding signed by the hospital and Community Services for the mainland detox treatment program is an outgrowth of that coalition.

A total of 1,450 Island residents were found to have substance abuse disorders in 2013, according to state and national data.

That number is probably low. It will never come down to zero — but if more than a hundred people a year are already getting help, it’s a solid start.