Operation UNITE collected 1,844 pounds of unwanted or expired medications as part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s 14th National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Oct. 28, 2017. This represents 15.4 percent of the 11,920 pounds collected statewide.

Since 2012, UNITE has collected and properly disposed of 21,298 pounds (10.6 tons) of medications. You can turn in medications anytime throughout the year at one of 42 medication dropbox locations across UNITE’s service region.

“This disposal is so important for two major reasons,” said Nancy Hale, president/CEO of Operation UNITE. “First, so many people illegally access unused prescription medications from the medicine cabinet of friends or family. Second, 86 percent of people using heroin started with prescription drug abuse. This important initiative helps us cut down on the supply and availability of those medications.”

Other highlights released by Operation UNITE in its monthly update on efforts to combat substance abuse in its 32-county service area included:

50 tip line calls were received with 22,310 calls received since inception. People can report suspected drug activity toll-free by calling 1-866-424-4382.

Drug Courts

  • During October, there were 500 active participants in drug courts within the UNITE service area. Of those, 355 were employed and 122 were pursuing education.
  • The courts collected $9,698 in fines, restitution and court costs, along with $8,816 in child support in October. Since inception those totals are $1.49 million and a little more than $1 million, respectively.
  • There were 5,715 hours of community service completed in October.

• 19 people entered treatment in October using a UNITE Treatment Voucher.
• Since inception, 4,296 have entered treatment.

Education/UNITE Coalitions
UNITE and its coalitions held a total of 269 activities, including:

  • In Laurel County, coalition members finalized registration for elementary school drug prevention programs, which are up to 2,500.
  • More than 260 youth and 30 adults participated in drug prevention sessions at Harlan Elementary.
  • In Knott County, more than 75 Drug Court clients volunteered at God’s Pantry.
  • Three UNITE clubs in Pike County assisted with efforts such as Texas hurricane relief donations, 250 appreciation cards for first responders and 400 cards for educators and other public servants.
  • Many coalition members held Red Ribbon Week activities the last week of the month.