Red Ribbon Week honors agent, healthy lifestyles

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Red Ribbon Week honors agent, healthy lifestyles

by: Tetsuo Nakahara | .
Stripes Guam | .
published: October 16, 2013

Red Ribbon Week 2013 runs Oct. 23 through 31 to promote awareness of child drug abuse. The week is organized by the National Family Partnership and is America’s oldest and largest drug prevention program, reaching millions of Americans annually.

This year, Guam’s Red Ribbon Coalition, which is comprised of both local and federal agencies as well as for- and non-profit groups, chose “A Healthy Me Is Drug Free!” as its theme, according to a Pacific Daily News report.

Various related events were slated for the month of October. The week started with a proclamation signing at the U.S. District Court Oct. 1 and a poster contest and gate decorating contest for all schools. Drug awareness presentations are also scheduled at various schools.

Red Ribbon Week also commemorates the ultimate sacrifice made by Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

By wearing red ribbons and participating in community anti-drug events, young people pledge to live a lifestyle free of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs, while paying tribute to Camarena.

The 11-year DEA veteran assigned to the Guadalajara, Mexico, office was on the trail of the country’s biggest marijuana and cocaine trafficker. In January 1985, Camarena and 200 plus Mexican policemen burned a 250-acre marijuana plantation worth $8 billion. On Feb. 7, 1985, he was kidnapped and murdered by Mexican drug traffickers. His tragic death opened the eyes of many Americans to the dangers of drugs and the international scope of the drug trade.

“Agent Camarena gave his life to our country and we would like to honor his life by following his footsteps,” said Maria Jackson, a prevention coordinator at Army Substance Abuse Program at Camp Zama, Japan. “Agent Camarena’s dream and purpose is to make a difference and he did! This is why we planned the theme for the Red Ribbon Art Contest: ‘Who Is Your Red Ribbon Hero?’”

The art contest involves students from Zama’s elementary, middle and high schools. At Zama, art contest entries will be available for public viewing and judging Oct.28 and 29 at religious education center.

“In partnership with our local Department of Defense Schools, the installation’s Army Substance Abuse Program developed initiatives and strategies designed to combat this epidemic by educating our school age children as they are the most vulnerable as they are more prone to experimentation based on peer pressure and host of other reasons.” said Jackson.

Department of Defense Dependent Schools and organization in each military base will hold various fun and exciting events to re-enforce the anti-drug message thorough this year’s theme “A Healthy Me is Drug-Free” during the week.

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