On the Move! Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment & Education (Operation UNITE)
- Need: To decrease illicit drug and alcohol use in the Central Appalachian region of Kentucky, where many schools had no type of prevention curriculum.
- Intervention: Using engaging simulations and presentations, the project delivers substance use prevention education to middle school and high school students.
- Results: Post-test surveys show that thousands of students are reached through the "On the Move!" project and gain positive knowledge on the dangers of substance use.
In October 2013, Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment & Education (Operation UNITE), along with 8 consortium partners, began the "On the Move!" project and Life with a Record program in the Central Appalachian region of Kentucky.
Thanks to a partnership with the Kentucky Army National Guard, this project is free for schools. "On the Move!" and "Life with a Record" received support from a 2012-2015 Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) Rural Health Care Services Outreach grant. Results for both programs are evaluated by a University of Kentucky team.
"On the Move!" features a mobile prevention classroom, where students complete the second of a two-part survey to measure changes in knowledge prior to the mobile classroom presentation and obtained following the presentation. Designed for seventh- and tenth-grade students, the project was designed to mimic risk factors that involve real-life situations where kids must make choices about substance use and to deliver substance use prevention education to youth.
"On the Move!" also features the following activities:
- Simulated Impaired Driving Experience (SIDNE): Students drive a battery-powered vehicle that simulates the effects of distraction and impairment from alcohol and other drugs on a motorist's driving skills.
- Fatal Vision Marijuana Driving Experience: Students wear special goggles that mimic impaired cognitive functions.
- Fatal Vision Tricycle Course: Wearing special goggles that impair vision, students try to complete a course on a tricycle.
- The Choice Is Yours: In a small-group setting, students discuss making good choices.
- Life with a Record: Students learn about the criminal justice system and the ways that poor choices can affect their futures.
Students complete a pre- and post-discussion survey about topics like bullying and underage drinking. The University of Kentucky Prevention Research Center collects the survey results and shares them with school officials, who can use the information to better tailor programming for their students' specific needs.
From August 12, 2013, to June 30, 2019, "On the Move!" has been presented to 39,027 seventh- and tenth-grade students in 43 counties within Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
"Life with a Record" has been presented 76 times to 11,463 students in 45 different schools in 21 Kentucky counties.
Both programs received national recognition at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit workshops in 2015. Both programs have been discussed in workshops at the Corporation for National and Community Service (now AmeriCorps) Regional Conference in Baltimore in 2017 and the Tennessee Service Learning Commission Conference in 2018. Both programs are often featured in local newspaper articles and on local TV stations.
- Harsh weather can make it hard or impossible to do simulations outside.
- School schedules, such as reserving gym or parking lot space, can also be a challenge.
- Since most schools have been virtual during the COVID-19 pandemic, "On the Move!" has been inactive, and "Life with a Record" was presented to only 17 students in 2020.
Information for both programs can be found on the UNITE website. UNITE Education Director Debbie Trusty will provide the curricula for the mobile prevention unit and "Life with a Record" free of charge to any community, school, or coalition interested in presenting the information to their youth.
Some expenses to consider include:
- Remodeling and maintenance of mobile prevention unit
- Travel expenses for staff and volunteers
- Cost of simulations: One program has a software cost of $400.
Contact InformationDebbie L. Trusty, Education Director
Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment & Education (Operation UNITE)
Children and youth
Substance use and misuse
Wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention
Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia
October 27, 2015
Date updated or reviewed
February 1, 2021
Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub, 2021. On the Move! Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment & Education (Operation UNITE) [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at: https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/project-examples/849 [Accessed 20 March 2023]
Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.