Red Ribbon Week teaches dangers of drug use, abuse

It was a Thursday in February of 1985. Feb. 7 to be exact, when a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agent, upon investigating a multi-billion dollar drug scam involving suspects who were officers of the Mexican Army, made history. Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, 37, father of three sons and dedicated to his job, was tortured, beaten and brutally murdered. His body was found one month after his kidnapping in a shallow grave 70 miles from Michoacan, Mexico.

Camarena lost his life fighting a war against drugs. From a lost life, the Red Ribbon celebration was created.

Red Ribbon Week is held one week each October in his honor. Parents in Illinois and Virginia who were fed up with the destruction and killing caused by drugs and alcohol launched the first Red Ribbon Campaign, which was proclaimed by the U.S. Congress in 1988. Each year it gains momentum and has become larger and stronger, reaching millions of Americans. Since the beginning, no other single drug prevention movement in history has had an impact on so many lives.

The purpose of the Red Ribbon campaign is: "In communities all across the United States, the Red Ribbon has become the centerpiece of celebration of freedom from drugs. Red Ribbon Week means different things in many different communities. But one thing remains the same: the small gesture of wearing a red ribbon or other symbol, has the potential for touching all of us in a profound way, and keeping us drug free. So join the Colorado Federation of Parents as ribbon by ribbon ... bracelet by bracelet ... neighbor by neighbor ... we become united for drug free youth."

Moffat County students involved in Red Ribbon Week were read a message during their homeroom classes.

"Whereas, alcohol and other drug abuse has been identified as one of the greatest threats to the future of our nation, and the 15- to 24-year-old age group is dying at a faster rate than any other age group, this week has been declared "Red Ribbon Week" in every community in America," the message read.

This message officially began Red Ribbon Week in Moffat County and schools are preparing activities to teach students about the dangers of drug use. Each school has different activities to show support for the week. Carnivals, clothing, games, skits and videos are just some of the activities in store for area students.

Craig Middle School (CMS) students in the Peer Counselor class and those involved in S.T.A.R.S. (self-control, trust, abstinence, responsibility, self-respect), started Monday to run carnivals at each of the elementary schools in Craig. Carnivals consist of activities promoting students to do something besides drugs.

Week-long schedules for the elementary schools may be found in the Craig Daily Press and following are schedules for Craig Intermediate School (CIS) and CMS.

Moffat County High School also is involved. At the beginning of October, any student wanting to participate could take part in a T-shirt design contest. Winners were picked last week and T-shirts were distributed Monday to elementary students. The winning design was by Dylan Schopper and he received $50. All other designers participated in a pizza party held Monday.

CIS:

Bracelets were distributed Monday.

Tuesday: Drug announcements by students, candy distribution to those wearing the bracelet.

Wednesday: Wear red day for staff and students to show support of Red Ribbon Week.

Thursday: Announcements by students.

CMS:

Bracelets and "Count on Me to Be Drug-Free" worksheets were handed out and Peer Counselors and those in the S.T.A.R.S. program decorated the campus with red ribbons, posters and banners. Some of them also went to Ridgeview Elementary School to help in the carnival.

Tuesday: Students are encouraged to wear red bandanas. Peer Counselors and those in the S.T.A.R.S. program will go to East Elementary School from 10:50 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

Wednesday: Students are encouraged to wear red socks and Peer Counselors and those in the S.T.A.R.S. program will go to Sunset Elementary School from 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

Thursday: Students are encouraged to wear red hats.

Friday: Students are encouraged to wear red clothes and the "Great Escape" will take place during lunch. Students will have the opportunity to go to the gym and listen to music and participate in various activities. Students showing their D.A.R.E. (Drug Awareness Resistance Education cards to former D.A.R.E. teachers will receive prizes.

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