Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo's Communications Office
Lt. Governor, Operation UNITE, Law Enforcement to Host Series of Drug Abuse Forums

Press Release Date:  Monday, December 21, 2009  
Contact Information:  Valeria Cummings
Eric Duncan

Developing ideas/solutions to improve safety for health care providers

FRANKFORT, Ky. — In the wake of the tragic shooting that claimed the life of  Dr. Dennis Sandlin, Lt. Governor Daniel Mongiardo, Operation UNITE, along with representatives from the legislature, medical and legal fields, announced today that they will be hosting a series of community forums to address safety concerns being raised throughout the medical community. 

“We, as medical practitioners, need to step forward, learn as much as we can, and become involved in preventing this type of thing from happening in the future,” said Lt. Gov. Mongiardo. “I believe this will be a good opportunity to discuss issues we face every day, educate ourselves about the latest trends, and brainstorm both immediate and long-term solutions.”

These forums will involve individuals from all walks of life and will include discussions on the growing prescription drug abuse problem and the crimes associated with it; improving healthcare provider safety; and expanding drug treatment and prevention programs.

“We have already been approached by many medical providers asking how they can avoid unwittingly becoming part of the problem”, said Karen Engle, director of Operation UNITE.  “They want to know what they can do in their own practices, how they can recognize substance abuse, and what help are available if problems are suspected.”

The first set of meetings will be held in January 2010 culminating with a symposium on March 6, 2010 at the Forum at the Hal Rogers Center in Hazard.

Those supporting this endeavor include representatives from Operation Unite, the Office of Drug Control Policy, Kentucky Law Enforcement, the Kentucky Pharmacist Association, the Kentucky Hospital Association, Kentucky Legislators and physicians and Danielle Sandlin, daughter of Dr. Dennis Sandlin.