Through Community Engagements, Fort Buchanan Promotes a drug-free lifestyle
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Col. Charles N. Moulton, Fort Buchanan commander (right), and Denise Foster, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Caribbean Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), pose for a photo in front of Puerto Rico's governor mansion, shortly after the Red Ribbon event hosted by Puerto Rico governor Pedro Pierluisi, Oct 24. (Photo Credit: Carlos Cuebas) VIEW ORIGINAL
Through Community Engagements, Fort Buchanan Promotes a drug-free lifestyle
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Fort Buchanan, the Army's center of gravity in the Caribbean, participated in the Red Ribbon Week event hosted by Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi at the governor's mansion La Fortaleza on Oct. 24. (Photo Credit: Carlos Cuebas) VIEW ORIGINAL
Through Community Engagements, Fort Buchanan Promotes a drug-free lifestyle
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Fort Buchanan, the Army's center of gravity in the Caribbean, participated in the Red Ribbon Week event hosted by Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi at the governor's mansion La Fortaleza on Oct. 24. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO- Fort Buchanan, the Army's center of gravity in the Caribbean, participated in the Red Ribbon Week event hosted by Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi at the governor's mansion La Fortaleza on Oct. 24.

Col. Charles N. Moulton, Fort Buchanan commander, and Ulises Marrero, Acting Deputy to the Garrison Commander, were among the guests that included the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Agency, Border Patrol, and Homeland Security Investigations, among many other federal and state agencies.

"This is the time to renew our commitment to fight drug trafficking, drug abuse, and related crimes. This group of agencies is a united front. Today, we also recognize the hard work of our federal and state agencies to prevent drug addiction. Our agents are the first line of defense in this battle. They dedicate their lives to protecting our communities against drug traffickers and their destructive activities. Everything they do gets us closer to a drug-free Puerto Rico," said Pierluisi.

Almost every day, local media outlets inform about the deaths of young men and women in Puerto Rico. According to law enforcement authorities, mainly these deaths are the result of drug-related crimes. Unfortunately, images of dead bodies left overnight in the middle of a road or wrapped in sheets are inundating local newscasts.

According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, drug use increased by 61% among 8th graders between 2016 and 2020, and 50% of teenagers have misused a drug at least once.

"This is a dire situation that has grave implications for everyone on this beautiful island but also our national security. After all, how will we build the Army of the future if our younger generations are being attacked with drugs? With rates of overdose deaths higher than ever in our nation's history, it is important to stand together against this destroyer of lives, families, and communities. Those young Puerto Ricans who die daily in the streets of Puerto Rico have become canon fodders of the illicit drug traffic. They deserve better," said Moulton while preparing to participate in the event.

The Red Ribbon Week became a symbol for drug prevention in 1985 in response to the murder of Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent and veteran Enrique "Kiki" Camarena. Wearing red ribbons during October continues to represent the pledge to live drug-free and honors the sacrifice of all who have lost their lives in the fight against drugs.

Now, 25 years later, the nation continues teaching children about the dangers and consequences of living a life filled with alcoholism and frequent drug use. Red Ribbon Week is an excellent opportunity to have conversations relating to the dangers of alcohol and drugs.

"In the U.S. Army, we believe that every young person deserves to live a full and healthy life and have every opportunity to reach their highest potential – to Be All You Can Be. Today's young people represent the most gifted, talented generation in American history. It is our national responsibility to protect them," said Moulton.

"At Fort Buchanan, we demonstrate every day our commitment to drug-free lifestyles through the U.S. Army Substance Abuse Program and the Employee Assistance Program, which missions are to strengthen the overall fitness and effectiveness of the Army's workforce," added the commander of the only U.S. Army installation in the region.

With its leader's participation in this local government event, Fort Buchanan reinforces its zero-tolerance policy on drug use in line with the U.S. Army's steadfast commitment to maintaining a strong and disciplined force.

Anyone with questions about Fort Buchanan's efforts to promote drug-free lifestyles among its members can contact the Army Substance Abuse Program at 787-707-3125.