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GUEST COLUMN: Celebrate Red Ribbon Week

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by Dodie Huff-Fletcher

One day I was wearing my red ribbon lapel pin and a close friend of 15 years asked about its meaning. I said it was in support of Red Ribbon Week. When she asked me what Red Ribbon Week was, I was taken aback.

I have worked in the field of drug and alcohol prevention for the length of our entire friendship and somehow I had failed to communicate about this annual community prevention effort to my closest friend. So I decided to set the record straight so that she, too, could begin to celebrate Red Ribbon Week with me.
Red Ribbon Week was inspired by the tragic death in 1985 of undercover Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Enrique Camarena at the hands of Mexican drug traffickers.
In 1988, Congress adopted a proclamation formally designating the last week in October as Red Ribbon Week, a celebration of positive choices and a healthy drug-free lifestyle. Each year, schools, organizations and communities participate in activities that touch the lives of 80 million young people and adults in the United States.
There are many ways to show your support for living a healthy lifestyle that is free of alcohol and drug abuse.
Businesses can show their support of Red Ribbon Week by placing a red ribbon on their door or placing a message about being a drug-free workplace on their marquee signs.
Individuals can display a red ribbon on their car antenna, or wear a red ribbon in support of a drug-free lifestyle.
Parents can share information with their teens about making healthy choices and not using alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.
So join us during the week of Oct. 24. This year, my friend and I will be celebrating Red Ribbon Week by putting red ribbons on our home and office doors, car antennas and wearing red ribbons to show our support of positive choices and healthy drug-free lifestyles. To get involved with prevention efforts locally, check out www.spencercountycan.com.
If you know a teen who would like to celebrate a drug free lifestyle and express themselves through creating a video to prevent underage drinking (along with chances to be aired on TV and win cash prizes), visit www.reelactionky.com.
If you would like more information about how to prevent teen alcohol or drug abuse contact the Seven Counties Services Regional Prevention Center at 502-589-8600 or www.sevencounties.org and click on “prevention” under the “our services” tab.
If you suspect or know your teen is using alcohol or other drugs, you can contact the Early Intervention Program, an assessment and educational program for youth 13-17 years of age, at sbenson@sevencounties.org or call Stephanie Benson at 502-418-4212 or 502-589-8600.