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Red Ribbon Week Reminds Kids of Danger of Drugs

EASTCHESTER, NY. – Eastchester Middle School student Lauren Gresia, 12, wore a red ribbon in her hair on Wednesday and a red shirt to school in honor or Red Ribbon Week is the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the United States.

"I don't think anyone should use drugs," Gresia said. "I think it brings consequences in your life that you will regret."

Celebrated every year during the last week of October, the campaign encourages everyone to wear red ribbons to support a drug free lifestyle and to honor a federal agent who died trying to stem the tide of drugs entering the United States.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency website, Agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, was killed in Mexico in 1985 while investigating drug traffickers. Before he was found dead, during the month he was missing, people in Camarena’s hometown of Calexico, Calif., wore red ribbons to show their support. They became a voice for drug use prevention in order to reduce the demand for illegal drugs and illegal use of legal drugs.

The following year, the California State PTA adopted the Red Ribbon Week campaign in memory of Camarena. Red Ribbon week became nationally recognized in 1988 by President Ronald Regan.

Earlier this week, Tuckahoe Police Lt. Peggy Belles asked the Tuckahoe Village Board to wear red ribbons she gave them.

"The negative consequences of drug use cannot be stressed enough to the children of our community," Belles said. "We must always remind them."

Gresia agrees. "I think it is helpful to hear about how bad it is to use drugs," Grescia said.

Sgt. Stephen Gallo of the Bronxville Police Department said Red Ribbon Week is an opportunity for parents also.

"Even if there is not a formal acknowledgement in the community or at school, parents can use the week to speak to their kids about drug use," Gallo said. "It is important to keep the lines of communication open."

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