Pasco students don wacky duds for Red Ribbon Week
On Monday, students at Connerton Elementary in Land O'Lakes were asked to wear crazy socks to school. Pajamas were the requested attire Tuesday at San Antonio Elementary in Dade City. Today, students at Weightman Middle in Wesley Chapel will don wacky ties to promote the message to "tie down drugs." The Pasco County Sheriff's Office will be out in force, offering student presentations throughout the week.
So it goes in countless schools as students throughout the United States observe "Red Ribbon Week," which runs from Oct. 23-31. Kids all over are being encouraged to buy into this year's theme, "It's Up to Me to Be Drug Free," by signing antidrug pledges, writing essays, and wrapping their schools and themselves in the color red as they join in the nation's oldest drug-prevention program.
The Red Ribbon campaign began in 1985 as a response to the torture and murder of DEA agent Kiki Camarena by drug traffickers in Mexico City. In honor of Camarena's mission to "make a difference," family and friends began wearing red patches or ribbons after his death. From there, Camarena's mission grew.
The National Family Partnership came on as a national sponsor of the Red Ribbon campaign in 1988, providing antidrug information and resources to schools and organizations throughout the country. The NPA's most recent efforts include a national multimedia campaign called "Lock Your Meds," aimed at adults who often are the "unwitting suppliers" of prescription medications to drug abusers in their own homes.
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Lock up your meds
• Remove drugs from your medicine cabinet and hide them, lock them up or take them out of your house.
• Safeguard all medicines that have to remain at home by monitoring quantities, controlling access and regularly checking to see whether anything is missing.
• If your child is on prescribed medication, monitor the dosages and refills. Set clear rules, such as not sharing and always following proper dosages.
• Warn youngsters that taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs without a doctor's supervision can be just as dangerous and potentially lethal as taking street drugs.
• Supervise your child's Internet use: Many pharmacy sites are not regulated and sell medications without prescriptions.
• Properly dispose of old, expired or unused medicines.
Red Ribbon Week Contests
• Win an iPad2 and $1,000 for your school by entering the National Red Ribbon photo contest. Students bring the Red Ribbon message home and work with parents and family members to decorate the door, mailbox, fence, etc., with this year's theme: "It's Up To Me To Be Drug Free." For contest rules and guidelines, go to redribbon.org/enter.
• 2012 Red Ribbon Theme Contest. Entries must be received by Dec. 1, via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or via mail to National Family Partnership, 2490 Coral Way, Miami, FL 33145. Include your name, school, telephone number and e-mail address. Winners will be notified by Dec. 15.
• For information, go to nfp.org.