10/21/07 — 'Red Ribbon' Week aims to reduce youth drug use

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'Red Ribbon' Week aims to reduce youth drug use

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 21, 2007 2:01 AM

Students across the county will participate this week in one of the nation's oldest and largest drug prevention programs, as part of "Red Ribbon Week."

The event promotes living a healthy, drug-free lifestyle and encourages students to be drug free, said Allen Smith, the district's safety coordinator.

"This campaign provides schools and communities with an opportunity to bring together parents, schools, the community and business partners as we look for new and innovative ways to help students make healthy choices when asked to use drugs," he said.

The first Red Ribbon Celebration was organized in 1986 by a grassroots group of parents concerned about the rampant use of drugs and alcohol among teens. The red ribbon theme was adopted in honor of Enrique "KiKi" Camarena, a U.S. drug enforcement agent who was kidnapped and killed while investigating drug traffickers.

All week, students and staff in the public schools will wear red ribbons and buttons to show their school is for a "Drug-free America" and will hold daily activities to promote healthier choices. School Street, Fremont STARS and Carver elementary schools, Edgewood Community Developmental, Eastern Wayne Middle and Spring Creek High will also have a "Wear Red Day" to encourage awareness.

At Spring Creek High, Eastern Wayne Middle, Norwayne Middle, Rosewood Middle, Fremont STARS and Tommy's Road elementary schools, essay contests will be held. North Drive Elementary and Fremont plan to have K-9 officers speak to students about the dangers of drugs.

Rosewood and Eastern Wayne middle schools and Northwest Elementary will have students sign a pledge to stay drug free.

Southern Academy plans to hold a "Slam Dunk" basketball game between the middle and high school students, using the theme, "Slam Dunk -- Drugs Are Junk." Cheerleaders for each side will create anti-drug cheers.

"Red Ribbon week is a chance to be visible and vocal in expressing our desire for a drug free community," Smith said. "Research indicates that children are less likely to use alcohol and other drugs when parents and other role models are clear and consistent in their opposition to substance use and abuse."