Once a year there is a Nationwide campaign to bring Awareness to the dangers of Drug’s and Alcohol, and the influence they have on our society. This drug awareness campaign is known as Red Ribbon Week.
It is recognized all across the United States.
A DEA agent, Enrique Camarena, was tortured and killed by Mexican drug cartel in 1985 while conducting a drug raid. In an effort to raise awareness of the drug trafficking coming in from Mexico, citizens in California (where Camarena was from) wore red ribbons as a tribute to the loss of his life. It became a national story line and the Red Ribbon Campaign was donned in 1988 by Ronald Regan.
Fortunately for the Bay Area Recovery Center each year we are given the opportunity to speak to the entire student body of the Dickinson High School during Drug Awareness week. Chemical Dependency Counselors, LCDC’s, Bay Area Alumni, family members and many in our recovery community are given the opportunity to share their experience strength and hope with the students.
This experience and opportunity brings with it many wonderful testimonies and stories. One such story that the Admissions Director of the Bay Area Recovery Center shares, has to do with a daughter and her father walking into his office one day. As the family sat down with the Admissions Director the young woman said that she remembered him from a Red Ribbon Week event at her high school where he had spoken of drug awareness, addiction, substance abuse, and the 12 Step fellowship. Our Admissions Director turned to her and said, “That’s great! I’m glad we could be of help and that you felt we spoke to you in some way. So what are you struggling with?” The young woman stopped him and replied, “Oh no, Banks. I’m not here for me. I’m here for my Dad.”
The Red Ribbon week events are an excellent platform to share our experience of drug awareness, strength, and hope to spread the solution to chemical dependency. When speaking to these young adults we relive the pains of our past to raise awareness to the destruction caused by alcohol and substance abuse in order to, hopefully, deter drug use in our youth. However, the opportunity provided by Red Ribbon Week also gives us a stage to share the hope of a future without drug abuse to young men and women who may not need substance abuse counseling themselves, but have a loved one who does. The story above shows that we need to lend a voice to any ear willing to listen. The pain of alcohol and substance abuse doesn’t only affect those that use, but also the families and loved ones closest to them. The Red Ribbon Week events at Dickinson High School, that we are so honored to participate in, are just another way for us to show how our painful pasts can be used to give hope to someone’s future.