Red Ribbon Week 2016 is scheduled from Oct. 23 through 31 and the Fort Leonard Wood Army Substance Abuse Program is taking the lead in promoting the annual drug abuse awareness campaign during October.

"The Red Ribbon Campaign is a National Observance focusing on our commitment to combat drugs in our own lives, our Families and our communities," said Guy Caley, ASAP prevention coordinator.

"The Red Ribbon Campaign encourages everyone to take the pledge to not abuse drugs and to do everything in our power to end this scourge on our communities. This year, we particularly want to emphasize to parents the need to keep kids safe from drugs in their own home," he said. ASAP is scheduled to host events around the installation and is also partnering with the Waynesville R-VI School District to get the word out. The organization distributed literature at Friday's Community Pride Night football game at Waynesville High School. Special speakers will be sent to classrooms throughout the district. At 3 p.m. Oct. 21, students in grade 6 and older can sign the drug-free pledge at Pippin Youth Center. U.S. Army Fort Leonard Wood Garrison leadership will participate in a ceremony to post a large red ribbon at the main gate Oct. 24.

"The Red Ribbon Campaign is important because it gives us a particular time to focus on the fight against drugs. Obviously this is something that matters every day of the year, but it's good to have an opportunity to renew our pledge to be drug free every year," Caley said.

"We encourage people to take this opportunity to talk to their kids about making a commitment to living above the influence of drugs and alcohol and also to making sure their homes are not a source of drugs that kids can abuse," he added.

According to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, 60 to 70 percent of teens say home medicine cabinets are their source of drugs, Caley added.

"Kids are both savvy and curious, so it's important we start our commitment against drug abuse by securing the sources of drugs in our own homes. Prescription pain medications now account for more overdose deaths each year than all illegal drugs combined in every age group. The escalating abuse of prescription pain medications has directly led to the resurgence of a heroin epidemic for the first time in decades as prescription narcotic abusers turn to heroin for a cheaper high. More than half of heroin users say they started their habit with prescription pain relievers," Caley said.

ASAP staff members want community members to realize drug and alcohol abuse affects everyone.

"This is not an issue that discriminates, its everywhere," said Rachelle Harvey, ASAP Prevention Branch chief. "It doesn't matter what socio-economic background you have. Everyone knows someone with an alcohol or drug problem, and his or her life has been impacted."

For more information on ASAP services, service members can call 596.0131, ext. 60119 and civilians can call the Employee Assistance Program at 573.596.0131, ext. 67166.