As the employee assistance program coordinator for the Army Substance Abuse Program, Michael Reed sees a lot of young people who believe alcoholism and drug addiction happens only to other people.
"Eighty-five to 90 percent of the soldiers we see are 25 and younger," said Reed, who will spread the message about resisting alcohol and other drugs during Drug Free Work Week, from Monday through Oct. 26 and Red Ribbon Week, Oct. 27-31, at Fort Gordon.
"In 20 years, I've seen a whole bunch of people who don't think it will happen to them. Nobody ever thinks they'll turn into an alcoholic," he said.
Most activities related to staying drug free will take place during Red Ribbon Week.
Reed will have displays from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 27 at the commissary, from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 28 at the Army/Air Force Exchange Service and from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 29 at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center.
"We'll have displays with pamphlets we'll give away. We'll be passing out red ribbons," he said.
A big effort will take place at Freedom Park Elementary School, where there will be a special activity each day of Red Ribbon Week, including the "Dodge Drugs, Be Smart, Don't Start" dodgeball game Oct. 30, and "Don't Go Bonkers Over Drugs" bowling matches. There will be a poster contest and an essay contest.
Reed also will speak to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders at the school on Oct. 30.
"I'll focus on the dangers and consequences associated with drugs and alcohol," he said. "It might be seen as a cool thing to do. I'll talk about the inherent dangers that always happen to everyone else."
The Red Ribbon Week campaign has been around since 1986.
"The Red Ribbon was adopted as a symbol of the movement in honor of Enrique 'Kiki' Camarena, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent who was kidnapped and killed while investigating drug traffickers (in Mexico). The campaign has reached millions of children and has been recognized by the U.S. Congress," according to a news release from Reed.
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