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So many life lessons can be learned from the game of basketball,” former University of Kentucky basketball player Jeff Sheppard said. “It’s the least I can do to spend some time with the kids in our communities and deliver a message about basketball but a message of hope as well about staying away from drugs and making the right decisions.”
Sheppard along with former UK Wildcat Jarrod Polson joined forces with Operation Unite for the 5th Annual Shoot Hoops Not Drugs event. Over 100 children from across the area came to the event to learn basketball fundamentals and an important message about drug abuse.
“Just the overall message of the camp is just trying to get kids away from the drug scene and how it’s been prevalent in the mountains. Anything to do to prevent that and help those kids and get them on a different path is something I like to do,” Polson said.
UNITE joined together with Ameritox, a company that “the nation’s leader in pain medication monitoring, offering laboratory services and practice management tools to help clinicians coordinate and optimize the care of chronic pain patients,” according to its website.
Ameritox’s director of communications, Lon Wagner, said, “We (Ameritox) wanted to sponsor this event. We’re involved in battling the prescription drug epidemic, and so is Operation Unite. Part of our mission, as we say, is to prevent human tragedy.”
“We want to instill in the kids a couple of things,” Wagner said. “Don’t do drugs that don’t belong to you. Secondly [this camp] is a good, healthy activity. Even if you never end up playing basketball, you’re out here, exercising, getting your heart rate up and doing something positive.”
Sheppard and Polson taught children of all ages the fundamentals of basketball, ranging from basic ball handling skills to defensive stances. This was the final Shoot Hoops Not Drugs camp that Operation UNITE held.
Operation UNITE will also be holding a week long leadership camp at the end of July at the University of Cumberlands.
Ameritox helped pioneer the prescription drug monitoring necessary to address the national epidemic of prescription drug misuse, abuse and diversion. As a trusted leader in medication monitoring, Ameritox provides medical and business professionals with health care solutions that can help improve patient care and prevent tragedy. Ameritox, headquartered in Baltimore, Md., has laboratory facilities in Greensboro, N.C.
Contact: Lon Wagner
Director of Communications, Ameritox
30 Point Strategies