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On the Move! Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment & Education (Operation UNITE)

Summary 
  • Need: Illicit drug and alcohol use continued to increase 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 abuse 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 abuse.

Description

Operation UNITE logo In October 2013, Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment & Education (Operation UNITE), along with 8 consortium partners, began the "On the Move!" project in the Central Appalachian region of Kentucky. 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 abuse prevention education to youth.

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.

Services offered

In addition to a mobile prevention classroom, "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.

Results

From August 12, 2013, to December 31, 2018, "On the Move!" has been presented 334 times to 34,130 seventh- and tenth-grade students in 43 counties within Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

"Life with a Record" has been presented 73 times to 11,069 students in 43 different schools in 21 Kentucky counties.

Both programs have 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 (CNCS) 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.

Barriers

  • 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.

Replication

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 Information

Debbie L. Trusty, Education Director
Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment & Education (Operation UNITE)
606.889.0422
dtrusty@centertech.com

Topics
Appalachia
Children and youth
Schools
Substance abuse
Wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention

States served
Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia

Date added
October 27, 2015

Date updated or reviewed
January 16, 2019


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.