Julia Roberts Goad
BELFRY, Ky. - Young people today are making better decisions, says Jarrod Hunt, Executive Director of UNITE Pike, the local branch of Operation UNITE - Unlawful Narcotics Investigations, Treatment and Education.
The Belfry High School chapter of UNITE had their first meeting at the school Wednesday. Hunt said the Belfry club is the largest chapter in the history of the organization, which encompasses 29 counties in Kentucky.
“There’s so many of you guys,” Hunt told the students. “Our main office in Somerset said are the biggest club in all our counties in Eastern Kentucky. That means Pond Creek Nation seems to be serious. I’m excited with you. When you have more than 300 students in a club, you can make a real difference. I’m learning to never underestimate Belfry. Anything you all do seems to be the biggest and the best.”
Hunt told the UNITE members that while the club will have a lot of fun, members should not forget the ultimate goal of working toward a drug-free community.
“What we are doing here is very serious,” Hunt said. “Everyone of us, I imagine, knows someone who is struggling with drugs or alcohol addiction, someone who has died from that. That’s what we are here for, to put a stop to that.”
Hunt said the average age for first time drug abuse in Kentucky is 11 years old. He said high school age youth may have become accustomed to drug abuse.
“You guys have grown up in a generation where you see it all around you all the time, so looks normal,” he said. “It shouldn’t look normal.”
Hunt said the students assembled make better decisions.
“This stuff is killing people all around us. The hope that I have is that you are the generation that stops this.”