WASHINGTON, DC.-U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) announced today he has secured an additional $3.1 million in federal funding to continue the efforts of Operation UNITE, the comprehensive counter-drug initiative that is working with local, state and federal officials to combat drug abuse in southern and eastern Kentucky. Funding for Operation UNITE is included in the Fiscal Year 2008 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill, which was approved by the House Appropriations Committee today.
"Operation UNITE is a tremendous success, and Congress once again has endorsed this vital program. The numbers speak for themselves, and by bringing together the manpower and resources of law enforcement officers, citizen groups, and medical professionals, Operation UNITE is helping our region make progress in the battle against drugs," said Rogers. "This investment ensures we have the resources necessary to continue the fight."
Operation UNITE, which stands for Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education, serves 29 counties in southern and eastern Kentucky. The region-wide program has three main tasks: creating regional drug task forces for interdiction, confiscation and undercover operations; organizing local citizens' groups and coordinating drug treatment programs; and working with educators to expand drug awareness and education programs. With this funding, Rogers has directed over $35 million for UNITE.
To date, UNITE detectives have confiscated over $6.8 million in drugs, including more than 50,000 pills, 8000 grams of cocaine, and 5000 grams of methamphetamine. Almost 2000 individuals have been arrested. On the treatment and education front, over 1000 individuals have participated in UNITE drug court programs and nearly 40,000 counseling sessions have taken place with UNITE substance abuse counselors.