Kaua‘i joins nation in substance abuse prevention

The Red Ribbon Week is a national program and is one of the biggest drug prevention awareness efforts in the nation, said Theresa Koki, the county’s anti-drug coordinator.

Koki and representatives of the many county agencies involved in drug prevention were on hand to accept a proclamation from Kaua‘i Mayor Bill “Kaipo” Asing announcing that Kaua‘i joins the other states in America in celebrating the efforts of numerous communities in preventing substance abuse.

The National Red Ribbon Campaign starts Oct. 23 and runs through Oct. 31 in almost every community in America.

Koki said the red ribbon worn by people commemorates the ultimate sacrifice made by Drug Enforcement Agency Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena who was killed by drug traffickers in Mexico while working to break a ring.

Consequences of drug and alcohol abuse affect every component of society and is particularly damaging to our nation’s children. It is also a contributing factor in the three leading causes of death for teenagers — accidents, homicides and suicides.

Koki encourages people in business, government, parents, law enforcement officials, media, medical, religious institutions, schools, senior citizens, service organizations, sports teams, and individual citizens to demonstrate their commitment to healthy, drug-free lifestyles by wearing and displaying red ribbons during the week-long campaign.

“By wearing a red ribbon during this national observance, we stand united to honor the courage and convictions of the American heroes that protect us each day; to remember the reality of drugs and the thousands of lives they destroy,” the proclamation states.

But most importantly, the red ribbon, like the “red badge of courage,” celebrates the millions of adults and children who are pledging to stay strong and drug-free, Koki said.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com

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