Red Ribbon Week aims to reduce drug demand

Celebrate Life.jpgBy Davita Hampton, Army Substance Abuse Program

The Red Ribbon Week campaign symbolizes support for the efforts to reduce demand for drugs through prevention and education programs. Each year from Oct. 23-31 thousands of schools, communities and drug abuse prevention organizations throughout the country distribute red ribbons to honor Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique (KiKi) Camarena’s memory and visibly show a dedication to avoid drug abuse.

Camarena was tortured and killed in Mexico in 1985.

The theme of this year’s campaign is Celebrate Life: Live Drug Free. This year’s theme is a reminder that we are all examples of what living and celebrating life should look like. We are responsible for shaping our community through service, dedication, and positive influence.

It is important to remember the dangers of alcohol and drugs which have destroyed lives, families, and communities. Children of parents who talk to their teens regularly about drugs are less likely to use drugs than those who don’t. Kids aren’t just using illegal drugs; they are taking prescription medications found in the home. We need to educate them about the dangers of medication use.

Opioid overdose is considered a national public health emergency. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, between 2016 and 2020, drug use increased 61% among 8th graders. Our hope is through education and having open and honest conversations our youth will gain the skills necessary to avoid drug and alcohol use.

Fort Jackson’s ASAP Program is partnering with the DODEA schools and CYS to host several activities for Red Ribbon Week. All the events will focus on bringing awareness to the youth and Fort Jackson community about the benefits of being drug free.

Red Ribbon Week kicks off Monday, with Red Ribbon Rallies at the C.C. Pinckney and Pierce Terrace elementary schools and the Youth and Teen Center. At the Department of Defense Education Activity schools, we will have a special appearance from our friendly crime fighting dog and a favorite cartoon character.

The week's activities will continue with a poster contest at the schools and teen center with prizes given to the winners.

Red Ribbon Week will close out with participating in the Fall Festival Oct. 28 at Patriots Park.

Help us celebrate Red Ribbon Week by wearing a red ribbon or red article of clothing to show support for the campaign. Wearing the red ribbon symbolizes the commitment to a drug-free life and to a drug-free community.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug or alcohol issues, please reach out for help. Civilians and Family members may contact the Employee Assistance Program at 751-5007. Service members can call Substance Use Disorder Clinical Care at (803) 757-5911.

The ASAP prevention office is also available for training or resources and may be reached by calling 751-5007.