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National Red Ribbon Week

By Jeffery Hikes 2nd Medical Operations Squadron

The National Red Ribbon Week Campaign will run from Oct. 27 to 31. Love Yourself - Be Drug Free! is the campaign's national theme this year, and offers Airmen the unique opportunity to reinforce the Say No to Drugs message.

The event began in 1985 when drug traffickers in Mexico City murdered Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, a drug enforcement agent, who was close to uncovering the identities of key members of a Mexican drug cartel.

Angered by his death and the destruction caused by drugs and alcohol, many citizens in Camarena's hometown, Calexico, Calif., began wearing red ribbons in his honor. This began the tradition of displaying and wearing the red ribbons as a symbol of intolerance towards drug and alcohol abuse. Now, the observance has grown into a national annual event. The mission of Red Ribbon Week is to present a unified and visible commitment toward the creation of a drug-free America.    

"In order to maintain combat readiness, it's fundamental that military personnel, Defense Department civilians, and their families remain drug free," said Jessica L. Wright, Acting Undersecretary of Defense. "One of the department's most successful drug demand reduction efforts has been to promote anti-drug education during RRW. To raise public awareness of the department's commitment to a drug free military community, I strongly encourage installations, commands, and units to participate in RRW activities this year."

Col. Kristin Goodwin, 2nd Bomb Wing commander, is requesting Team Barksdale to show their support by joining the nation and the DOD by participating in the many activities that are being planned by our demand reduction program, local schools and community coalitions.

"Drug abuse is incompatible with military service, mission accomplishment and our core values," she said. "It is an enormous threat to our wing and national security. Drug abuse prevention will continue to demand our best efforts."

Each year, the Red Ribbon Campaign has grown and now impacts millions of Americans. The DOD has been in the forefront of the nation's efforts to combat illegal drugs and their use. Whether it is through drug testing or educational efforts within our own DOD communities, or voluntarily reaching out to others in the need of help, the DOD has been steadfast in endeavors to confront this problem. Both military and civilian employees continue to mobilize around the world against threats, including drugs, to keep our homeland secure. They must be at their best, both physically and mentally, to make wise decisions under pressure.

RRW is a national observance to remind us of the dangers of drug abuse and the benefit of a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. RRW provides Barksdale and its surrounding communities an opportunity to reenergize their commitment to a healthy and drug-free lifestyle, and emphasize our dedication to education and prevention efforts.

Wearing or displaying the red ribbons will symbolize Team Barksdale's commitment to the development of a healthy lifestyle and drug free choice for our nation and our children's future.

Red ribbons can be picked up at the Drug Demand Reduction Office, building 4549. For more information on planned activities, additional ribbons, outreach and prevention information or materials, contact the Drug Demand Reduction Office at 456-8021.