By Kerstin LopezNovember 9, 2010
FORT CARSON, Colo. - The annual Red Ribbon Week campaign kicked off Oct. 25 across the nation, and Fort Carson joined in the effort to educate the community about the hazards of drug and alcohol use.
The campaign is the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation. Red Ribbon Week was established in 1988 to commemorate Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, who died while investigating a drug-trafficking case.
Every year since 1988 people have come together to celebrate what has become one of the largest drug prevention campaigns in the world, said Ed Menjivar, Army Substance Abuse Program prevention coordinator.
"The significance of Red Ribbon Week on Fort Carson is that we are able to relate the message about the negative consequences
of drug and alcohol abuse to military and civilians," Menjivar said.
The weeklong campaign began with a ribbon cutting ceremony at Weikel Elementary School to promote the anti-drug campaign.
The installation also hosted several events during the week to include a free barbecue with a live band at the USO; an event at the post exchange parking lot to include a classic car, law enforcement vehicle and crash car display and 300 free Popeyes meals; and concluded with a karaoke event.
Menjivar said the events are beneficial because they attract large amounts of people, which is the best way to convey the message of drug and alcohol abuse.
"We create events that are fun to attract people and give things away that has the message that we are trying to send across the community," Menjivar said.
Fort Carson schools participated in the anti-drug campaign with themed days to promote a drug-free lifestyle such as wearing red to signify Red Ribbon Week.
"It is never too early to begin educating our youth," Menjivar said.
Col. John D. Keenan, deputy garrison commander, said this is the 22nd year that Fort Carson has hosted Red Ribbon Week to educate everyone about illegal drugs and abuse of alcohol.
"The right choice is to say no to drugs and alcohol," Keenan said.