By CATRINA FRANCIS
Gold Standard Senior Staff Writer
The days of waiting to educate kids about the perils of drugs are over. Since 1988, educators have taken this battle to the classrooms during Red Ribbon Week.
According to redribbon.org, the red ribbon has touched the lives of millions of people around the world. In response to the murder of Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Enrique Camarena, angered parents and youth in communities across the country began wearing red ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the killing and destruction caused by drugs in America.
Next week, Wednesday through Oct. 31, the nation will celebrate Red Ribbon Week which highlights the importance of drug and alcohol-free initiative for students across the nation.
Sue Lowrie, a prevention coordinator with Fort Knox’s Army Substance Abuse Program, said the community will recognize this special week with the Fort Knox schools by passing out red ribbons with various mottos to all the students recognizing the importance of staying drug free.
Lowrie said parents are their children’s first line of defense. She encourages them to get involved in their child’s life and make clear rules and enforce them with consistency and appropriate consequences.
Lowrie pointed out that there is also an emphasis on high school kids.
“High school underage drinking (is a problem because) the brain is still developing,” explained Lowrie. “(They) should wait until (they) are 22 or 23 (years old).”
She noted that the younger kids understand drinking can have a negative effect on your life.
“The state trooper said kids are very intelligent and receptive,” she said, “they will challenge you.”
Kevin Corbin, the ASAP program manager, said red ribbon week is also about promoting awareness and providing kids with another tool about drinking. He said kids will say, “We see this (drinking) going on in our house and it might not be right.”
“Parents are the role models,” she said. “If they are getting drunk (then kids) grow up and say, ‘this is what my mom, and dad did.’ They learn that.”
Lowrie pointed out that alcohol is the No. 1 drug of choice for youth.
“The average age for first-time use is 11.5 (years old),” she explained. “Eighty percent of high school seniors have used alcohol (and) it can only take six months for an adolescent to become an alcoholic.”