CAMP PENDLETON—Service members, civilian personnel and their families are encouraged to participate in Red Ribbon Week Oct. 23-31, to emphasize the benefits of pursuing a drug-free lifestyle.
Established in 1988 by Congress, Red Ribbon Week honors the memory of Drug Enforcement Administration Agent and former Marine Enrique Camarena, who was murdered by drug traffickers after he successfully eradicated a multi-million dollar narcotics manufacturing operation in Chihuahua, Mexico.
After Camarena’s death, citizens in his hometown of Calexico, Calif., donned red ribbons, which became a symbol for prevention in order to reduce the demand of illegal drugs.
The Consolidated Substance Abuse Counseling Center will host several events and activities promoting Red Ribbon Week, such as placing informative displays throughout the base and hosting a Red Ribbon Dance for base youth at the Abby Reinke Community Center here Oct. 14.
Individual units are also encouraged to participate in observances to promote a drug-free military community.
For more than a decade, Marines from the Provost Marshal’s Office, Security Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, have visited local schools to talk about the negative effects of drugs and encourage children to “just say no.”
“This year we’ll be visiting Stuart Mesa and San Onofre Elementary Schools,” said Staff Sgt. Terrick Miller, the physical security/crime prevention chief for PMO. “Our Marines will attend their prevention assemblies, pass out drug-free items and educate youth on the dangers of drugs in a combined effort with parents and school faculty.”
For Amy Hadeen, a physical security specialist with PMO and former Marine, taking the time to interact with children, civilians and fellow Marines to spread a positive message is the best way to honor Camarena.
“It’s important for our community to see that the military is doing its part in raising awareness about drugs and promoting prevention,” said Hadeen, who has participated in Red Ribbon Week for the past three years. “Everyone should be involved.”
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