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October 11, 2013

Fort prepares to kick off Red Ribbon Week campaign

Rosa Peralta-Imamura
ASAP Prevention Coordinator

Children of parents who talk to their teens regularly about the dangers of drugs are 42 percent less likely to use drugs than those who don’t, yet only a quarter of teens report having these conversations, according to the National Family Partnership.

To help drive home that message, Fort Huachuca’s Army Substance Abuse Program, in conjunction with the post schools will hold a weeklong Red Ribbon Campaign from Oct. 21 to 27. The Red Ribbon Week campaign is designed to create awareness concerning the problems related to the use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs and to pave the way in preventing substance abuse among our youth.

The Fort Huachuca Accommodation School District and the Army Substance Abuse Prevention Program have developed positive and fun activities to engage students and promote healthy and drug free habits. The Red Ribbon Campaign will kick off at 9 a.m. Oct. 21 with the Proclamation Ceremony at Colonel Smith Middle School.

Red Ribbon Week also commemorates the ultimate sacrifice made by Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who died at the hands of drug traffickers in Mexico while fighting the battle against illegal drugs to keep our country and children safe.

Enrique “Kiki” Camarena grew up in a dirt-floored house with hopes and dreams of making a difference. Camarena worked his way through college, served in the Marines and became a police officer. When he decided to join the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, his mother tried to talk him out it. “I can’t do this,” he told her. “I’m only one person, but I want to make a difference.”

The DEA sent Camarena to work undercover in Mexico investigating a major drug cartel believed to include officers in the Mexican army, police and government. On Feb. 7, 1985, the 37-year-old Camarena left his office to meet his wife for lunch. Five men appeared at the agent’s side and shoved him in a car. One month later, Camarena’s body was found in a shallow grave. He had been tortured to death.

Within weeks of his death in March of 1985, Camarena’s Congressman, Duncan Hunter, and high school friend Henry Lozano, launched Camarena Clubs in Imperial Valley, Calif., Camarena’s home. Hundreds of club members pledged to lead drug-free lives to honor the sacrifices made by Camarena and began to wear red ribbons.

Today, Red Ribbon Week is nationally recognized and celebrated, helping to preserve Special Agent Camarena’s memory and further the cause for which he gave his life. Members of the Fort Huachuca community are encouraged to join students, parents, teachers and other citizen to stand against drugs, wear a Red Ribbon Badge proudly, have the courage to say “NO” to drugs and set an example for our youth.

Parents are encouraged to get educated about the dangers drug abuse and talk to their kids, teach them refusal and life skills, set a good example by not using illegal drugs or medicine without a prescription, monitor their children’s behavior and enforce appropriate consequences, know where they are and who are their friends, set rules and guidelines to help them grow safe, healthy, and drug free.

Red Ribbons will be available in baskets at different garrison locations. For more information about Red Ribbon activities/events at Fort Huachuca, or to request Red Ribbons for your organization, contact Rosa Peralta, prevention coordinator at rosa.l.peralta.civ@mail.mil or call 520.338.1315.




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