Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Executive Summary

UNITE is an acronym meaning Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education. It reflects the three-pronged, comprehensive approach deemed necessary to combating substance abuse in Kentucky Fifth Congressional District. Of Kentucky’s 120 counties, 24 of them do not have an organized regional drug task force. Fifteen of these counties with no active drug task force are represented in the Bluegrass Area Development District’s region. Current social and political perceptions across Kentucky recognize Operation UNITE efforts as largely successful. The evaluation responded to the following research questions: What factors lead to success in Kentucky’s Operation UNITE? Are these factors transferable in treating Central Kentucky’s substance abuse problems? An open-ended interview guide was used to collect data from fifteen Operation UNITE and three partnering organizations staff. The results identified 6 critical factors needed to implement Operation UNITE: a three-prong approach, financial resources, strong employee qualities, cross training, communication mediums, and checks and balances. The data collected also identified staff perceptions of internal and external success and challenges to service delivery pathways. The study’s findings are intended to assist in understanding the collaboration, coordination, and functionality of Operation UNITE. The study recommendations the findings be considered when implementing the UNITE regional drug task force model in the Bluegrass Area Development District region.