Red ribbon week commemorates fallen hero

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Natasha E. Stannard
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Red Ribbon Week is October 24-30. The week is not only used as a tool for drug awareness, but it also commemorates the death of Enrique Camarena Salazar.
Mr. Salazar was a Drug Enforcement administration agent, who was abducted and murdered in 1985 while working to uncover identities of key members of the Mexican drug cartel.
"Members of Mr. Salazar's hometown began wearing red ribbons to honor the fallen hero. Thereafter, The National Family Partnership and its affiliated organizations began wearing the ribbons to signify their commitment to fight the use of illegal drugs, "said Peter Legrand, Drug Demand Reduction chief.
During this week, the Fairchild Drug Demand Reduction Office uses most of its resources on educating awareness to fourth, fifth and sixth graders at Michael Anderson Elementary School.
"A lot of the awareness resources we give out are school supplies with 'Drug Free' statements on them," Mr. Legrand said. "This way the materials they carry around and use at school are a constant reminder."
Along with promoting awareness during this week, The Drug Reduction Office continuously fights the war on drugs by educating people and preventing Airmen from putting their health at risk.
"Drug reduction is a part of health and wellness, which is why we do the random testing," he said. "The purpose of the random testing program isn't to catch people- It's a deterrent. "
The testing program here is an AFI driven program.
"The drug program here is bullet proof there is no room for error," he said.
Having a program like this subdue temptations Airmen may face when they are in situations that expose them to drugs and peer pressure, Mr. Legrand said.
Implementing programs and raising awareness is also beneficial to morale, Mr. Legrand said.
"This is especially beneficial if the squadron sweeps we do come back with no results because the commanders will usually have a commander's call to praise their Airmen," he said.
While Airmen's best deterrent is the random drug test, adolescent's best deterrent is awareness and parental involvement, Mr. Legrand said.
"I see adolescent usage of pharmaceuticals not prescribed to them along with misuse of household items because kids think they're harmless," he said. "The big message is to have parents talk to their children. If they need help or information they can contact the Drug Demand Reduction Office."