“We create strategic partnerships. We provide leadership. We promote education. We coordinate treatment. And, we support law enforcement.” --Nancy Hale, Operation UNITE, U.S. House testimony, Dec. 12, 2017
Operation UNITE is the Institute’s main educational advisor, serving as a shining example of what can be accomplished when a community’s key leadership groups join forces to solve problems. UNITE stands for Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education, reflecting the teamwork among law enforcement, treatment, and prevention/ education to combat substance abuse in Kentucky communities.
The Institute supported Operation UNITE, which is backed with a combination of donations and state funding, with the awarding of micro-grants in 2017. This included support for Camp UNITE, the organization’s skill-building experience for at-risk youths affected by the drug epidemic.
U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers established Operation UNITE in 2003 after the Lexington Herald-Leader published a series, “Prescription for Pain,” exposing an addiction crisis in southern and eastern Kentucky. Operation UNITE’s roles include supporting the development of youth anti-drug initiatives, providing linkages to treatment services, raising community awareness of drug problems, and furthering citizen involvement in efforts to build individual and community resilience.
Nancy Hale, a community leader with 34 years of experience in public education, serves as Operation UNITE’s president and CEO. She joined Operation UNITE in 2012 as co-director of the UNITE Service Corps (AmeriCorps) Program. She is the guiding presence at the annual National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, reminding all who attend that this effort is about saving children and strengthening communities.
The provider education and outreach from the Institute would not be possible without the support of professional association partners from throughout the behavioral health community. Here are the partners who support the Institute’s major events.