Red Ribbon Week a Prime Time to Educate Children and Parents

Yesterday, the annual Red Ribbon Week kicked off throughout the United States to make youth aware of the dangers of drug and alcohol use.  

The campaign will run through October 31 and has been held every year since 1988 to commemorate Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who was tortured and killed in Mexico in 1985.

Red Ribbon Week is an important opportunity for students throughout the country to become better informed on the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol and also to profess to themselves, their peers and their communities that they are committed to living drug-free and healthy lives.

This year’s Red Ribbon Week theme is, “Life is your journey. Travel drug-free.”

The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey offers several free resources to help New Jersey youth embark on that journey toward a substance-free lifestyle.

Programs include the Third Grade Contract for a Healthy Life and the Fourth Grade Folder Contest, which both encourage students to live healthy lifestyles free of substance use. 

The Middle School PSA Challenge invites students in grades 5-8 to create a 30-second public service announcement with a substance use prevention message. The creators of the winning entry are then chosen to film their PSA, which will be broadcast on stations throughout the state.

High school students can spread their own substance abuse prevention messages in the annual New Jersey Shout Down Drugs music competition. The contest culminates with the annual Prevention Concert, at which finalists perform their original music and winners are given contracts to perform their songs at events during the following year.

Of course, parents and guardians play a major role in preventing children from using drugs and alcohol, and the 15 Minute Child Break provides adults with information on current drug trends and how to best address the topic of drugs and alcohol with children. The Fifth Grade Parent Alert is also a useful tool in guiding a parent on how to talk with their children about drugs.

Red Ribbon Week is a perfect opportunity to continue prevention education for children and parents.

In other news, I am honored to announce I will be receiving the Daniel A. Kane Memorial Community Service Award on Thursday night at the CarePoint Foundation Gala.

CarePoint has been a great partner of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey over the past five years, sponsoring several events including a Do No Harm Symposium, the annual Drugs Don’t Work in NJ drug-free workplace seminar and the Hudson County Knock Out Opioid Abuse Town Hall.

CarePoint has also been proactive in addressing the ongoing opioid crisis in New Jersey. Christ Hospital in Jersey City recently became the second hospital in the country to implement the Alternatives to Opioids program in its emergency department. 

Once again, I am grateful to the CarePoint Foundation for presenting me with this prestigious award and am looking forward further collaboration to tackle the opioid epidemic in years to come.

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