Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo's Communications Office
Work Begins on Community Drug Problems

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, February 24, 2010  
Contact Information:  Valeria Cummings
Eric Duncan

Recommendations to be announced at March 6 Summit in Hazard

FRANKFORT, Ky. — After several weeks of listening to hundreds of individuals discuss their concerns about prescription drug abuse issues and substance abuse-related crimes, work is underway to come up with recommendations to put into action.

Since January, Lt. Governor Daniel Mongiardo along with representatives from his office, Operation UNITE and members from the Office of Drug Control Policy, have been holding community drug forums across eastern Kentucky.  Organizers have been listening to physicians and those who work in the medical community, law enforcement, and private citizens discuss first-hand what they have seen in terms of prescription drug abuse, including subsequent drug addictions and substance abuse-related crimes in their areas.   

“The fatal shooting of Dr. Dennis Sandlin was a shock to us all.  In the tragic aftermath, it has served as a call for an open discussion about drug abuse and the crimes associated with it,” said Lt. Gov. Mongiardo.  “Now we have information on what doctors, law enforcement and family members have to deal with every day.  Their recommendations are based on personal experiences and offer an all encompassing perspective on how best to address this problem.

“I agree with Lt. Gov. Mongiardo,” said Karen Engle, president/CEO of Operation UNITE. “We have programs in place to put some of these recommendations into action, and we have a much better picture of what needs to happen in order to help all communities in need.”

Recommendations from previous forums held in Hazard, Pineville, Pikeville and Morehead will be discussed during a symposium on March 6, 2010 at The Forum in Hazard.  For more information go to

Those participating in the forums include representatives from Operation UNITE, the Kentucky Justice Cabinet’s 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.