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Red Ribbon Week starts with you
Health advice
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Oct. 23-31 is Red Ribbon Week and it's a great time to talk with children, family or friends about drugs and how drug use (alcohol, inhalants, tobacco and illegal drugs) can destroy a person’s future and impact others around them. The use of one drug, such as tobacco or marijuana, often leads to that person using other drugs. This is known as the gateway effect. The best way to stop this cycle is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Learning to “just say no” is a very important lesson for everyone.
Millions of Americans celebrate Red Ribbon Week to bring awareness to the dangers and consequences of drug use and to honor Enrique Camarena, an undercover drug enforcement agent.
Enrique Camarena moved to the United States from Mexico when he was 9 years old and dreamed of acquiring an education and working to protect people from illegal drugs. He earned a degree in criminal justice, served in the Marine Corps and became a fireman and a policeman before joining the Drug Enforcement Administration. While working undercover in Mexico, Camarena was discovered, kidnapped, tortured and killed. To honor Camarena, his family and neighbors wore red ribbons. As his story spread, people nationwide began wearing red ribbons in his memory as well. The purpose of the Red Ribbon Campaign is to present a unified and visible commitment toward the creation of a drug-free America. Red Ribbon Week offers an excellent opportunity to show intolerance towards the use of drugs
Unfortunately, children are often the target for street drug sellers. They make easy marks because of their inexperience and immaturity. There are five basic reasons that children use drugs:
• To relax and feel good,
• To take risks and rebel,
• To satisfy curiosity,
• To fit in and belong, and
• To feel grown up.
All of these reasons for using drugs can be prevented by a caring adult. In order to ensure children do not feel the need to use drugs, try the following:
• Begin early: Start talking with children while they are in grade school about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and drug use.
• Listen: Learn to listen to children and to understand their concerns.
• Nurture: Help children feel good about themselves.
• Praise: Praise children for having the courage, strength and determination not to use or be involved with alcohol or tobacco.
• Set examples: Neighbors, teachers and family must all join together to set a positive example.
• Assure: Assure children that they are not alone in dealing with peer pressure.
• Encourage: Encourage healthy, creative activities and encourage children to talk about their hopes and dreams.
Red Ribbon Week is an ideal way for people and communities to unite and take a visible stand against drugs. The theme this year is “Ask me, see me, be me — I'm drug-free.” Show your personal commitment to a drug-free lifestyle by wearing a red ribbon the week of Oct. 23-31.
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