Bell Co. ‘unites’ against drugs

Published 8:34 am Friday, December 1, 2017

The historic Bell Theater recently hosted a special event hosted by the Bell County Coalition of Operation UNITE.

According to their official website, the “UNITE” part of Operation UNITE stands for Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education. Congressman Hal Rogers began Operation UNITE in 2003 after a report on the by the Lexington Herald-Leader exposed the drug addiction and corruption in southern and eastern Kentucky. They serve 32 counties in the region which in Bell, Knox and Harlan.

Operation UNITE has a clear mission statement. They aim to stamp out drugs in communities by spearheading undercover narcotics investigations, organizing treatment and support for substance abusers and their families, and providing education the public on the peril of drugs.

The special event saw members of the community as well as elected officials come to share resources on how to fight drug addiction in the community. Dinner was provided and various organizations such as Isaiah House and Chad’s Hope had booths set up on the Bell Theater stage to provide information for those who wanted it.

Deputy Director and Coalition Coordinator of the Bell County branch of UNITE, Tom Vincini, hosted the evening.

“What we’re trying to do is, you hear all the time that people don’t know what to do when they have somebody that needs treatment. We also hear that when people get out of treatment they come back to their community and they don’t know what to do with themselves. They don’t know where their support group is or who is going to help them get back into the community. So what we’re trying to do tonight is show them that there are resources all around us,” said Vincini.

There were two guest speakers for the night — Dr. Leah Cobb-Snodgrass, who is the Chair of the Department of Behavioral Health at LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, Operation UNITE CEO and President Nancy Hale and Rebecca Harris, who gave testimony as a recovered addict. The topics of discussion were treatment, after-care and recovery.

“If you need help with treatment, if you need help with recovery, if you need help with after-care…we’re trying our best to try and coordinate efforts…we want you to be able to call the community coalition and they’ll have a list of all the resources and they’ll tell you who you need to call to get in touch with…they need to know there is a support group already here.” said Vincini.

For more information on Operation UNITE, visit their website at http://operationunite.org/.