The spring might bring “March Madness,” but the hoops really heat up in June for Operation UNITE’s Shoot Hoops Not Drugs (SHND) basketball camps.

Five regional camps were held with 737 youth participants from 27 Kentucky counties and three other states (Ohio, West Virginia and South Carolina). In addition, 262 adults attended a drug education program, and 145 volunteers assisted. The camps, which are conducted by former UK basketball player and four-time All-SEC Academic Team member Jarrod Polson, feature basketball instruction as well as drug prevention and education lessons.

“Our education programs and activities introduce youth and adults to a life without drugs,” said Nancy Hale, president & CEO of Operation UNITE. “Programs such as Shoot Hoops Not Drugs are critical to our effort to prevent drug use and give families the information they need to make important life decisions.”

In addition, on June 20 the UNITE Board of Directors approved $135,500 for UNITE Community Coalition anti-drug activities in the second half of 2017.

Operation UNITE also released its monthly update on efforts to combat substance abuse in its 32-county service area. Highlights from May include:

56 tip line calls were received with 22,046 calls received since inception. People can report suspected drug activity toll-free by calling 1-866-424-4382.

Drug Courts

  • During May, there were 500 active participants in drug courts within the UNITE service area. Of those, 338 were employed and 101 were pursuing education.
  • The courts collected $10,194 in fines, restitution and court costs, along with $18,767 in child support in May. Since inception those totals are $1.445 million and $970,079, respectively.
  • There were 7,280.75 hours of community service completed in May.


  • Eight people entered treatment in May using a UNITE Treatment Voucher.
  • Since inception, 4,214 have entered treatment.

Education/UNITE Coalitions
UNITE and its coalitions held a total of 160 activities, including:

  • In Breathitt County, the UNITE Coalition and the Breathitt County KY-ASAP held six family art classes. They encourage creativity, build self-confidence and cover substance abuse prevention. There were 69 youth and 25 adults in attendance.
  • In Wayne County, youth ranked fourth in the state fishing tournament. There also were 147 youth and 27 adults who participated in Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs.
  • More than 60 people attended Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs at Heritage Hills Pond in Laurel County, and volunteers from Chad’s Hope participated.