Commonwealth Journal

October 15, 2013

HOPE Wall displays people who have overcome addiction

Staff Report
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset — Those searching for hope during their struggles with addiction can find it through knowing others who have recovered from their own dark times.

Operation UNITE — which stands for Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment & Education — has brought its HOPE Wall to Somerset for display during the next two weeks. The HOPE Wall features hundreds photos of individuals who are now in recovery and living clean and sober lives. The pictures show people of all ages, from all walks of life — and it shows that recovery is possible.

“This wall inspires people to believe that anything is possible,” said Pulaski Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey T. Burdette. “Once they start believing that, you can see people become free of addictions.”

Burdette and fellow Circuit Court Judge David A. Tapp were on hand Monday during the wall’s unveiling at the Pulaski County Court of Justice. The two judges have worked for years in overseeing the Pulaski County Adult Drug Court program, provided to defendants seeking treatment and a way out of their addiction struggles.

“The faces on this wall remind us that we’re all on the scrimmage line together,” said Burdette. “There’s no one better or worse than the other, and (we’re) all fighting against addictions.”

The HOPE Wall was first unveiled in Manchester, Ky. earlier this summer.

“In the midst of those cries for help we’re beginning to hear more tears of joy and triumph,” said Fifth District Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers said during the wall’s unveiling in August.

Rogers in 2003 worked to create Operation UNITE, a regional anti-drug initiative empowering citizens groups and community leaders in 32 southern and eastern Kentucky counties.

The HOPE Wall will be on display in Pulaski County until Oct. 25. Pulaski County is the first stop for the wall, which will be displayed in courthouses throughout southern and eastern Kentucky on a scheduled basis. UNITE will periodically add new photos to the wall. Anyone who has been free from drugs for 18 months is eligible to be featured.

“We know that individuals and families struggling with addiction are experiencing a lot of pain and believe they have nowhere to turn for help,” said Amy Yates, UNITE’s treatment director. “Once you make a decision to turn away from the destructive path of drugs and begin your recovery journey it is possible to find hope and rebuild your life.

“It won’t be easy,” Yates continued, “but there are a lot of people who will assist and guide you along the way.”

For more information about the HOPE Wall contact the UNITE Treatment Help Line at 1-866-908-6483 or visit the Operation UNITE website at www.operationunite.org.

UNITE seeks to fight the drug epidemic by expanding drug awareness and education programs to keep people from using drugs; coordinating drug treatment and outreach programs for those who are already addicted; and operating regional undercover law enforcement task forces for interdiction and prosecution of those dealing drugs.