Letter: Alcohol and Red Ribbon Week

To the Editor:

This Oct. 23 to 31, schools across the nation will be celebrating Red Ribbon Week.

This year’s theme is: Your Future is Key so Stay Drug Free. It’s a unique theme that was created by Iris Yu, a student at Solon Middle School in Solon, Ohio.

Many of us may recall wearing the iconic red ribbon on our shirts from our times in school, but what’s the story behind it?

It all started with Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. He was a Drug Enforcement Administration Agent stationed in Mexico during the 80’s.

On February 7, 1985, Camarena left his office to meet his wife for lunch. During this, five men appeared at the agent’s side and shoved him into

a car.

One month later, Camarena’s body was found. He had been tortured to death. Friends and neighbors began to wear red badges of satin in honor of Camarena’s memory.

Many communities began to form coalitions in an effort to stop the destructive effects of alcohol and other drugs. Several of these coalitions decided to take on the symbol of Camarena’s memory, the red ribbon.

Then in 1988, the National Family Partnership decided to sponsor the first National Red Ribbon Celebration, a celebration that continues to this day.

In South Texas, students face many different challenges and decisions.

The most commonly abused substance for middle and high school students is alcohol. In part, this is due to the availability of it and the social acceptance of its usage.

Children growing up who see this may be lead to believe that it’s fine to consume it at an early age, or may even see it as a rite of passage.

For examples, whenever a family gathering or birthday party comes up the first thing on many people’s minds is to secure alcoholic beverages.

One out of every two students in high school has tried an alcohol beverage at least once according to the 2016 Texas School Survey.

The consequences for consuming alcohol at such an early age can include potential damage to brain development, poor academic performances, legal consequences, and even death.

Learn more about how you can get involved this Red Ribbon Week at www.redribbon.org.

The Prevention Resource Center (PRC), a program of Behavioral Health Solutions of South Texas, serves as the central data collection repository for region 11 and the developer of a yearly Regional Needs Assessment (RNA), which is available to community members at no cost.

Irwin Mendoza

Regional Evaluator