Red Ribbon Week held

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 18, 2000

to promote drug-free lifestyles


Staff Writer

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Area students will be joining law enforcement officers in a 13-year-old celebration next week ­ Red Ribbon Week.

The red ribbon, which has become a symbol of the drug-free movement, was originated as a response to the death of Drug Enforcement Agent Enrique Camarena who was killed in 1985 by drug traffickers in Mexico. Parents upset over Camarena’s death at the hands of those bringing drugs to the United States began wearing red ribbons to symbolize their committment to create a drug-free nation.

Three years later, Congress officially proclaimed Oct. 23-31 at National Red Ribbon Week and school children in Pike County will be celebrating the week through awareness programs.

Next week, officers with the Troy Police Department will be visiting schools and talking to students about drugs and the serious problems illegal usage can create. Visits to schools will include a demonstration by the drug K-9 and distributing informational materials for students and their parents.

"The reason this emphasis is so great is because it’s a responsibility somebody has to take to educate our society, especially our young people, about the use and abuse of illegal substances," Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage said of what his department does during Red Ribbon Week.

"We have to protect the city of Troy from this evil and we’re going to do it every way we can."

Sgt. Benny Scarbrough, public information officer for the TPD, said the goal is to make every effort to prevent usage at a young age.

He said he realizes anyone who wants to use drugs "bad enough" will and the police department has a job to "help those and put suppliers our of business."

Influencing children at a young age is the best means of defense against drugs, Scarbrough said.

"If we can make an impact at that point, we can make a difference," Scarbrough said.

"It’s our job to enforce the law and impress upon young people they can make the choice to be drug free."

Scarbrough said Red Ribbon Week is a way to let young people know that illegal drugs are not healthy for them.

"The bottom line is we want to instill in children is they can be drug-free," Scarbrough said.

Educating them on the dangers of drug use and abuse is a way to let them know they have a "bright future ahead of them" that can be dimmed by such activity.

Although the emphasis is being made in schools, Scarbrough said it’s important for churches and civic organizations to get involved, as well.

One way to do that is by wearing or displaying red ribbons or talking about the dangers of drugs and promoting Red Ribbon Week.