United Communities to Advance our Neighborhoods, (UCAN) Inc.

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Volunteers pony up to restore family drug court lost to state budget cuts.


New state laws go into effect June 29

FRANKFORT – Most new laws approved during the Kentucky General Assembly's 2017 regular session will go into effect on Thursday, June 29.

The Kentucky Constitution specifies that new laws take effect 90 days after the adjournment of the legislature unless they have a special effective date, are general appropriations measures, or include an emergency clause that makes them effective immediately upon becoming law. Final adjournment of the 2017 Regular Session was on March 30, making June 29 the normal effective date for most bills.

Laws taking effect that day include measures on the following topics:

Adult education. HB 195 creates an alternative to the GED program by requiring the Kentucky Adult Education Program to create college and career readiness programs for those seeking high school equivalency diplomas. At least one program must be a test that meets current college and career readiness standards.

Bible literacy. HB 128 allows schools to offer an elective course on the Bible that teaches biblical content, poetry, narratives and their impact today.

Caregivers. SB 129 allows hospital patients to legally designate someone as a “lay caregiver” for the purpose of providing after-care to the patient when he or she returns home. The lay caregiver can be someone age 18 or older who is a relative, partner, friend or someone else who is close to the patient and willing to provide non-medical care at the patient’s home.

Charter schools. HB 520 will allow publicly funded charter schools to operate in Kentucky starting with the 2017-18 school year. The charter schools could be authorized by local school boards, which would establish charter schools by contract. The schools would then be governed by independent boards.

Coal fields. HB 156 creates the Kentucky Coal Fields Endowment Authority which will use coal severance dollars to fund infrastructure, economic development, public health and more in the east and west Kentucky coal regions.

Emergency vehicles. HB 74 only allows white light to be emitted from motor vehicle headlamps, although non-halogen headlamps will be allowed to emit a slight blue tint if they were factory-installed. The intent of the bill is to make it easier for motorist to distinguish emergency vehicles from other vehicles.

Fentanyl and other opioids. HB 333 will create stronger penalties for trafficking in any amount of heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil or fentanyl derivatives, define prescribing authority, and allow the state to investigate prescribing irregularities and report those instances to appropriate authorities.

Fish and wildlife. SB 83 requires the state to identify areas where deer and elk pose a “significant threat” to human safety by causing automobile accidents or pose a significant threat to agriculture. The state may then take necessary steps (including, but not limited to, special hunts) to reduce the deer and elk populations in those areas.

Hate crimes. HB 14 will allow an attack on a first responder such as a police officer, firefighter or rescue squad member to be considered a hate crime during the sentencing phase for certain crimes.


Hospitals. SB 42 allows law enforcement to arrest someone for fourth-degree assault in any part of a hospital without a warrant if the officer has probable cause that the crime was committed. Such arrests were previously restricted to hospital emergency rooms. 


Juvenile offenders. SB 195 creates a process for expungement of felony juvenile records two years after the offender reaches adulthood or is unconditionally released from commitment to the state.  Expungement will not be granted to those whose felony record includes violent and/or sexual offenses or those who have proceedings pending against him or her.


Local school boards.  HB 277 allows individuals to serve on a local board of education if they have an aunt, uncle, son-in-law or daughter-in-law employed by the school district. State law previously precluded someone from serving on a local school board if any of those relatives were employed by the district.

Nuclear power. SB 11 allows construction of nuclear power in Kentucky after vetting of proposals by the federal and state governments.

Playground safety. HB 38 bans registered sex offenders from public playgrounds unless they have advanced written permission to be on site by the government body (city council, etc.) that oversees the playground.

Primary care agreements. SB 79 allows patients to enter into contracts with their primary care provider that spell out services to be provided for an agreed-upon fee and period of time. The “direct primary care membership agreement” will not require a patient to forfeit private insurance or Medicaid.


Religious freedom. SB 17 specifies in statute that Kentucky public school and public colleges and university students have the legal right to express their religious and political views in their school work, artwork, speeches, and in other ways.


School calendars. SB 50 allows school districts to use a “variable student instructional year,” requiring the same hours of instruction required by existing law but allowing for fewer school days than the minimum of 170 days required by existing law. Districts could begin using the variable schedule in the 2018-19 school year if their first day of instruction is on or after the Monday closest to Aug. 26.

Veterans. SB 117 allows a veteran with a bachelor’s degree in any field to receive a provisional certificate to teach public elementary or secondary school if he or she has an academic major or passing assessment score in the area in which he or she seeks certification. After completing a required teaching internship, the veteran will receive a professional teaching certificate.


With a population of about 590,000, Louisville is the largest city in Jefferson County,which had the greatest number of deaths in the state from heroin, or 131 in 2015, according to state figures.

Kentucky is one of the five states with the highest rates of death linked to drug overdose: West Virginia (41.5 per 100,000), New Hampshire (34.3 per 100,000), Kentucky (29.9 per 100,000), Ohio (29.9 per 100,000), and Rhode Island (28.2 per 100,000), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(Note our Tri-State in Bold.)

(Updates January 2014
ASHLAND — The coalition fighting against drugs in Boyd County has a powerful new ally.

Last month, Boyd County officially joined Operation UNITE, the nonprofit anti-drug coalition active in the 32 eastern Kentucky counties of the 5th Congressional District.

Operation UNITE stands for Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education. It was created in 2003 by U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers following a report on the region’s prescription drug epidemic. The program provides funding and support for education, drug treatment and law enforcement efforts in four distinct regions within the coalition.  

Boyd County was invited to join after it was added to the 5th District last year following congressional redistricting. Although part of Boyd County, the City of Ashland remains in the 4th Congressional District. But UNITE resources will be available to the entire county and its school systems, officials say.

According to its literature, UNITE’s goal is to “educate and activate individuals by developing and empowering community coalitions to no longer accept or tolerate a drug culture.”

Boyd County will receive additional funds for education efforts in all three school districts, and access to vouchers for residential drug treatment will now be available to residents. Law enforcement agencies will also be eligible to receive additional resources and assistance in building cases against suspected drug dealers.

“We bring resources for your community and we help you as you need us to,” said Debbie Trusty, education director of UNITE. “Boyd County has so many resources, you all just have so many things going on. Hopefully this money will just help them expand things they are already doing and maybe do some new things.

“We are there for you to tell us what you need to enhance or do new programs that you haven’t had the funds to do.”

UNITE’s treatment voucher program provides financial assistance to eligible 5th District residents to obtain short- and long-term residential treatment for substance abuse. For more information about eligibility requirements, call the UNITE Treatment Line at (866) 908-6483.

A local UNITE coalition board has been set up and is working to plan a recruitment dinner and roll out education efforts, as well as finding a place for a permanent prescription drug drop box. UNITE will work with the established Pathways action group and school groups.

Bill Harris of Catlettsburg is the Boyd coalition chairman. “They want to fund projects to help the kids do something besides thinking about partying,” he said.

The Boyd coalition has already been granted $5,000 for education efforts, including purchase of “Too Good for Drugs” curriculum for all three high schools as well as a banner that will be used for various coalition functions. Money will also go to providing alcohol- and drug-free events following proms and graduations, officials said, as well as replacing equipment for the archery program at Boyd County Middle School.

Every school in the three Boyd districts is also eligible to receive $750 in funds for drug prevention club activities. Trusty said the clubs can be new or existing as long as they address drug prevention and education.

On the law enforcement side, Paul Hays, UNITE director of law enforcement, said officials will be working with the Boyd County Sheriff’s Department and the Ashland Police Department to create interlocal jurisdiction agreements so UNITE can work investigations in Boyd County.  

UNITE is known for its undercover drug investigations, and will most likely assist local law enforcement by sharing information and helping build solid cases.

Hays and Trusty stressed UNITE seeks to supplement existing resources in Boyd County, not take them over.

“We’re excited about the potential that we can do something to partner with the city or county or both on these kinds of issues,” Hays said.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.
Greenup County Residents Ending Addiction Together (G.R.E.A.T.)

KSP: Meth labs are on the rise in Kentucky

ASHLAND — Despite efforts to limit sales of the principal ingredient used in methamphetamine production, the number of meth labs found in Kentucky is expected to reach an all-time high this year.

There were 111 labs discovered in October alone, the most ever in a single month, according to statistics released last week by the Kentucky State Police.

Those discoveries pushed the statewide total for 2010 to 919, already more than the 741 labs found in the commonwealth last year, which was a record.

Kentucky is on track to exceed 1,000 meth labs this year, according to the KSP.

One of the reasons the number of meth labs has spiked is that manufacturers of it have found ways to get around the law restricting sales of products containing the ingredient needed to make the highly addictive drug, the KSP said.

That ingredient pseudoephedrine is found in some over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines.

A law that went into effect in Kentucky several years ago moved pseudoephedrine products behind store counters, restricted the sale to establishments containing pharmacies and required purchasers to sign log books. However, according to the KSP, the methods used by meth producers to obtain pseudoephedrine have “evolved” since the law went into effect.

One of the most common methods is know as “smurfing” and essentially involves having several people purchase their limit of pseudoephedrine pills and then turn them over to the cookers.

,,, Critics, though, contend that requiring prescriptions creates inconvenience and higher costs for consumers, mainly because it means individuals must visit their doctors to obtain common cold remedies.

Northeastern Kentucky has not been as hard-hit by meth as it has by the prescription drug epidemic, but that is not to say the drug doesn’t have a presence here.

.. (606) 326-2654
 Greenup (County) Residents Ending Addiction Together

Tuesday, October 12, 2010   Raceland          Raceland Cultural and Performing Arts Center      6:00-8:00

Thursday, October 21, 2010  Argillite             Argillite Elementary School                                    6:00-8:00

Tuesday, October 26, 2010   Flatwoods         Advance United Methodist Church                        6:00-8:00


Gruen Von Behrens was 13 when he became addicted to smokeless tobacco.

Greuen Von Behrens and Joe Garagiola testify on perils of tobacco use.

A typical rural Midwestern kid, Von Behrens first tried smokeless tobacco to "fit in" on a camping trip. The addiction followed him to the baseball field, where many of his peers and Major League heroes chewed tobacco, and by 17 he was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma.

The cancer in Von Behrens's mouth spread quickly. Now 32 years old, 34 surgeries have claimed his lower jaw, half of his neck muscles, his lymph nodes and a third of his tongue.

Exposure to tobacco smoke – even occasional smoking or secondhand smoke – causes immediate damage to your body that can lead to serious illness or death, according to a report released today by U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin. The comprehensive scientific report

Am J Prev Med. 1999 Feb;16(2):81-8.

Kentucky legislators' views on tobacco policy.

Hahn EJ, Toumey CP, Rayens MK, McCoy CA.

University of Kentucky College of Nursing, Lexington 40536-0232, USA.


CONTEXT: Kentucky leads the nation in adult and teen smoking prevalence. Even though Kentucky is one of the most tobacco-dependent states, tobacco policy is subject to change in light of possible national tobacco legislation. OBJECTIVE: To describe the degree of agreement among Kentucky legislators regarding tobacco control and tobacco farming policy, and to discover whether use of the policy Delphi method produces a shift toward consensus on tobacco policy. DESIGN: A two-round policy Delphi study was conducted using in-person interviews. SETTING: Legislators' offices in Frankfort, Kentucky. PARTICIPANTS: Volunteer sample of 116 Kentucky legislators (84% response rate). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Degree of agreement on tobacco control and tobacco farming policies. RESULTS: Lawmakers were highly supportive of policies to lessen the state's dependence on tobacco, and were favorable toward stronger tobacco control policies. There were discrepancies, however, between what policies legislators thought were desirable and what policies were realistic. Tobacco interests were identified as possible explanations for this disparity. Tobacco allotment ownership was associated with less support for tobacco control and tobacco farming policies. A shift toward consensus on tobacco policy was achieved in the second round for 45% of the interview items common to both rounds. CONCLUSIONS: Kentucky legislators were highly supportive of reducing the state's dependence on tobacco and more supportive of tobacco control policies than expected. The policy Delphi method has the potential for shifting opinions about tobacco policies among state legislators. The findings of this study identify opportunities for public health policy change in one of the most tobacco-dependent states in the United States.

  (August 18, 2010)

Not only cigarettes

Pile of cut tobacco
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Take the Next Step

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

There are lots of ways to feed a nicotine addiction, and cigarettes are only the most common. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 1 in 4 people use some form of tobacco. Researcher Stacy Thorne says many use more than one:

"Using multiple forms, such as cigarettes with cigars or cigarettes with smokeless tobacco, is more common among young adults 18 to 24 years of age, as well as white and Hispanic men."  (13 seconds)

Thorne says using multiple forms can delay quitting, which raises your risk of conditions like heart disease and cancer. But she says the strategy is the same: for help, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

The study is in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Learn more at hhs.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.


No Child Left Behind (NCLB)

United Communities to Advance our Neighborhoods is dedicated to decreasing the number of children who end up left behind.  We can not just leave it to the schools.  We aim to support the schools that especially lack some of the components necessary for ALL students to achieve.  With that charge, we must unite all areas of the community to present all possibilities to all of our youth.  It is then up to them, but now, it is up to you"UCAN, Inc. Founding President, Brenda Martin.

"Kentucky’s future depends on educating youth

well. Youth are most likely to succeed in school

when they have qualified teachers, low student teacher

ratios, opportunities for after-school

activities, and schools in good physical condition.1

One goal of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001

(NCLB) was to ensure all children have access to

these learning opportunities. NCLB requires each

state to measure Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)

toward academic achievement through academic

indicators like math and reading scores, as well

as other indicators like graduation rates for high


2. NCLB also monitors the progress of specific

 student subpopulations including African-

American, Asian, Hispanic, and White students;

students receiving free or reduced-price lunches;

students with limited English proficiency; and

students with disabilities.

3 All of these subgroups

must attain AYP for a school or state to have

achieved overall AYP. In 2007, Kentucky met the

target goals for math and reading for students of

all races, students with limited English proficiency,

and students receiving free or reduced-price

lunch but failed to meet the goal in either

subject for students with disabilities. Schools

identified as needing improvement often lack the

components necessary for students to achieve,

and students of color,students with disabilities,

and economically disadvantaged students are

disproportionately impacted by such school limitations".


Excerpt from Kentucky Kids Count Data Book 2007, "Academic Achievement".

Click here to visit the U. S. Dept of Ed. No Child Left Behind website






Kentucky Department of Education