The Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Army Substance Abuse Program provides classes, presentations, orientation briefings and information on substance abuse and its negative consequences.

JBM-HH ASAP also conducts assessments and makes referrals for civilian employees on all personal problems and provides training on prevention of violence in the workplace.

“The Story of the Red Ribbon: Let Us Not Forget”…

George A. Suber, JBM-HH ASAP Prevention Coordinator

I am delighted to inform you today about the 2020 National Red Ribbon campaign.   This year’s theme is: “Be Happy. Be Brave. Be Drug Free!”  Red Ribbon Week is the nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention campaign.  It is held the last week of October every year.  We will be celebrating a week-long event October 26-31.  With America’s current heroin and opiate drug epidemic it’s time to focus on prevention efforts.  This is always a special time of the year for the JBM-HH Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) office and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); a time to remember Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camerena and when communities all around the country come together to raises awareness about the destructive effects of drugs.

We too at the Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall feel that this campaign is important and touches the very heart of our base community.  This campaign originated in response to the tragic death of a DEA Special Agent, Enrique “Kiki” Camerena.  He was an 11 year DEA veteran assigned to Guadalajara, Mexico where he was on the trail of the country’s biggest marijuana and cocaine traffickers.  Twenty-six years ago in 1985, he was extremely close to unlocking a multi-billion dollar drug pipeline.  On February 7, 1985, Special Agent Camarena was kidnapped, tortured and brutally murdered by drug traffickers in Mexico.  His tragic death opened the eyes of many Americans to the dangers of drugs and the international scope of the drug trade.

This tragic event enraged our nation.  Special Agent Camerrena’s violent death brought home to us the viciousness of drug traffickers and it made us realize that those who use and distribute drugs in America are supporting the very drug traffickers and cartels that killed Special Agent Camarena.  Perhaps more than any single event, Special Agent Camerena’s death was the catalyst that began to change attitudes about drug use in America.

It was during the aftermath of Agent Camerena’s tragic murder that the Red Ribbon campaign had its beginnings.  Congressman Duncan Hunter and Kiki’s high school friend, Henry Lozano, launched “Camarena Club” in Kiki’s hometown of Calexico, California.  Hundreds of club members pledged to lead drug-free lives to honor the sacrifice made by Special Agent Kiki Camarena.  These pledges were delivered to First Lady Nancy Reagan during the National Conference of Parents combating youth drug use. 

Members of the Virginia Federation of Parents began wearing red ribbons to show their intolerance of drugs and their disgust with the violence caused by illegal drug trafficking.  Within in few years, many other groups had adopted the practice and now it is truly a nationwide observance.  The first “Red Ribbon Week” celebrations were held in La Mirada and Norwalk, California.  In 1988, the National Family Partnership coordinated the first National Red Ribbon Week with President and Mrs. Reagan serving as honorary chairpersons.

Each of us have been touched by the problem of drugs in some way.  As parents, grandparents, teacher, community and military leaders, chances are that you know families; maybe even your own that have seen the bright potential of a young life ruined by drug abuse.  You might have felt pain and sadness in your heart for the thousands of crack babies born each year to a life of serious health problems and learning disabilities. 

Drug trafficking has expanded our vocabulary of violence to include carjacking and drive-by-shootings, a tragic and random destruction of human life.  Drugs and violence have reached beyond our cities and beyond our suburbs, into our once peaceful rural communities.  No one anywhere is safe from the problems caused by drugs.

With our DEA agents presently fighting on global fronts, drugs are still one of the greatest threats our nation faces today; because the threat of drugs are both external and internal.  Eighty percent of the illegal drugs consumed by Americans are grown and processed in foreign countries and smuggled across our borders.  Yet drug use within our society rips apart its very moral fiber.  Like a cancer, illegal drugs are the enemy that attacks us from within. 

Clearly, our nation’s future depends on each of us taking responsibility to stop the spread of drugs and drug addiction.  No one can afford to be apathetic.  There can be no bystanders.  This is a problem that is so far reaching in its effects, that its solution will take a united commitment from every segment of society from law enforcement to private citizens coming together.  We must have effective education and enforcement of the law in order to bring an end to our drug problems in America’s The drug issue is a challenge every day for all Americans because illegal drugs directly endanger our greatest natural resource—our children—the future of our nation. 

For more information about Red Ribbon go to the website below: https://www.getsmartaboutdrugs.gov/get-involved/who-enrique-“kiki”-camarena