Red Ribbon Week at MacDill

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shandresha Mitchell
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
Andre Johnson, 6th Air Mobility Wing Drug Demand Reduction Program manager, launched a counter-drug campaign in coordination with the nation's oldest and largest drug prevention program, Red Ribbon Week, Oct. 23 through Oct. 31.

Red Ribbon Week was initiated in 1988 in honor of Drug Enforcement Agent, Enrique Camarena, a former Marine, killed in the line of duty while investigating a foreign drug cartel in 1985.

Since 1990, the Department of Defense has officially participated in this event to raise public awareness and mobilize communities to combat tobacco, alcohol and drug use among military personnel, civilians and their families.

"Red Ribbon week is a great campaign, and we definitely [got] the message out," said Johnson. "And that message is whatever you do; don't fall into the trap of drugs."
The week raises awareness of drug use and the problems related to drugs in the community. The program encourages service members, parents, educators and community members to promote drug-free lifestyles.

"We [informed] the base as a whole to increase drug awareness," commented Johnson. "My goal [was] to make sure children and adults understand the risks of using illegal substances and the risks of abusing legal substances."

This year's recognition included activities on base for all age groups; however, Johnson's target audience was the children at Tinker Elementary School and the Youth Center.

"We always want [the children] to say no to drugs," said Johnson. "So if we reach them at a lower level, like elementary school, then when they get into the higher levels, like high school, they have the seed implanted in them that drugs are no good for them."

Through briefings, face-to-face interaction and Q&A sessions, the Drug Demand Reduction program used Red Ribbon Week to increase awareness and deter individuals of all ages from using drugs.