Pubdate: Fri, 27 Oct 2006
Source: Times and Democrat, The (SC)
Copyright: 2006, The Times and Democrat
Author: Thomas Brown


DPS Kicks Off Red Ribbon Week

The Orangeburg Department of Public Safety kicked off its Red Ribbon 
Week celebration Monday at the department's headquarters. With 
approximately 50 people in attendance, ODPS Chief Wendell Davis 
welcomed and thanked them for participating in the celebration.

"The Orangeburg Department of Public Safety encourages the citizens 
of Orangeburg to support activities that raise awareness and 
encourage prevention of substance abuse," Davis said.

"We call upon every citizen to wear a red ribbon throughout the week 
in recognition of their commitment to a healthy, drug-free lifestyle 
and our commitment to a drug-free America."

Kenya Robinson and Nia Polidore of Sheridan Elementary School read 
the history of Red Ribbon Week for those gathered.

In 1985, Enrique Camarena, Drug Enforcement Administration agent, was 
kidnapped, tortured and brutally murdered by drug traffickers in 
Mexico. Camarena's death and the memory of his commitment to making a 
difference regarding the world's drug problem led to the inception of 
what is known today as Red Ribbon Week.

The National Family Partnership sponsored the first National Red 
Ribbon Celebration in 1988. Since then, millions of people have worn 
the red ribbon as a symbol of the belief that individuals can make a 
difference and raise their children to be healthy and drug free.

Reading from a proclamation from Mayor Paul Miller designating Oct. 
23-31 as Red Ribbon Week, Davis reiterated the importance of the observance.

"The Red Ribbon Campaign is now the oldest and largest drug 
prevention program in the nation," he said. "Approximately three 
million young people between the ages of 14 and 17 have an alcohol 
problem and more than half of America's school-age children have 
tried illegal drugs by the time they finish high school."

"The Red Ribbon Campaign is an ideal way for people and communities 
to unite and take a visible stand against drugs and show their 
personal commitment to a drug-free lifestyle," Davis said.

Orangeburg Department of Public Safety Crime Prevention Specialist 
Sgt. Aqkwele Polidore coordinated activities for the department and 
participating schools for the week.

"This is certainly among the most important events we have in 
relation to young people and drugs," Polidore said. "It provides 
parents and teachers with a forum to discuss the drug problem in 
general with young people and to talk with them about any contact 
they might have had with drugs -- whether someone tried to give them 
drugs or whether they've been tempted to try them."

"We must educate our young people all the time about the dangers of 
drugs," she said. "Some of our youth come from environments where 
drugs are pervasive. That's why we must get the communities involved 
in prevention. They can take what they learn from the week's 
activities back to the their communities and apply them. That's what 
we want them to do."
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