HAZARD – Residents of four Kentucky River-area counties will continue to receive help obtaining substance abuse treatment because of the concern of a local corporation.

Kentucky River Properties, LLC, was recognized for their philanthropic gift to the UNITE Foundation during the recent Bluegrass Forum on Substance Abuse held at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park.

Company officials presented its fourth $100,000 check to UNITE in a ceremony featuring U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers, Gov. Steve Beshear, and top legislative leaders.

“A few years ago our team spent considerable time researching ideas on how to spend our contribution dollars where they would have the most impact in fighting the effects of illegal drugs, and concluded that Operation UNITE was the best answer,” said Fred N. Parker, president of Kentucky River Properties. “We are proud to support them in any way we can.”

The funding – part of a five-year, $500,000 pledge – will be used to provide treatment vouchers to low-income residents of Perry, Knott, Leslie and Letcher counties. In addition, a portion of the money is used to support Drug Court programs in each of these counties.

“Each year since making our pledge we’ve learned more about the positive impact the program is having on people who have been battling the vicious effects of drug addiction,” Parker stated. “We’ve heard the testimony of many people whose lives had been devastated but, because of Operation UNITE, have been able to escape the grip of addiction.”

Over the past three years, 68 people from the four target counties have entered a treatment program using KRP’s funding, said Karen Kelly, director of UNITE.

For those who qualify, UNITE treatment vouchers pay up to $3,000 for short-term treatment (up to 89 days) or up to $5,000 for long-term treatment (90 days or more).

UNITE’s treatment team responds to more than 1,200 calls per month on its toll-free treatment line (1-866-908-6483) from individuals seeking help with an addiction-related issue, Kelly said.

“Many of our calls are from individuals seeking to enter a treatment program for their addiction but don’t have the financial resources,” Kelly said, adding there is often a waiting list for available treatment bed space. “Because Kentucky River Properties recognizes this need, and made a commitment to help out, the wait is virtually eliminated in Perry, Knott, Leslie and Letcher counties.”

Kentucky’s Drug Court programs have faced sharp funding cuts over the past year or two.

“Thanks to Kentucky River Properties, we are able to provide Drug Court participants assistance in meeting basic one-time needs,” Kelly said. “The recovery process is not easy, and this extra help often makes the difference in whether or not an addict graduates and ultimately gets their lifestyle straightened out.”

Kentucky River Properties is a land company formed in 2001 after a restructuring of its parent company, Kentucky River Coal Corporation.