Jun 10 2009
Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) announced today that a key committee in the U.S. House of Representatives has approved $4.45 million for Operation UNITE to continue its flourishing counter-drug initiative in southern and eastern Kentucky. UNITE employs a successful multi-pronged strategy to tackle the scourge of drug abuse throughout the region using cooperative law enforcement efforts, treatment, and education.
“Operation UNITE’s innovative tactics have received accolades at the local, state and national level, and Congress’ continued endorsement of this successful program is an indication that we are well-poised to continue the fight against drugs,” said Rogers. “Our community has come together like never before, and the numbers speak for themselves. By uniting the manpower and resources of law enforcement officers, citizen groups and medical professionals and educating our young people on the serious dangers of drug use, Operation UNITE is truly making a difference in the battle against drugs.”
Operation UNITE, which stands for Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education, serves 29 counties in southern and eastern Kentucky. The region-wide program has three main tasks: creating regional drug task forces for interdiction, confiscation and undercover operations; organizing local citizens’ groups and coordinating drug treatment programs; and working with educators to expand drug awareness and education programs in local schools. With this funding, Rogers has directed over $50 million for UNITE related activities over the last 8 years.
To date, UNITE detectives have removed over $8.6 million worth of drugs off the street, including more than 86,000 prescription pills, more than 23 pounds of cocaine, over 450 pounds of processed marijuana and over 11.6 pounds of methamphetamine. Their efforts have led to the arrests of more than 3,000 drug dealers and a 96.8% conviction rate. Operation UNITE also provides non-violent offenders and those grappling with addiction with a second chance—over 2,000 people have participated in UNITE drug court programs, and more than 1,400 individuals have received vouchers for treatment. Finally, Operation UNITE continues to educate our youth about the dangers of drug abuse; to date, 64,595 counseling sessions have taken place with UNITE substance abuse counselors. For more information on UNITE, visit www.operationunite.org or call 866-678-6483.
The funds are included in the FY10 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which was approved by the House Appropriations Committee on June 9, 2009. The bill is slated to be considered by the full House of Representatives next week. Rogers works to secure valuable funding for important initiatives in the Fifth Congressional District.