ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Human Resources kicked off the statewide Red Ribbon campaign Monday at the Capitol in the South Atrium to signal the beginning of the governor’s Red Ribbon activities in Georgia.
Josh Belinfante, deputy executive counsel to Gov. Sonny Perdue, represented the governor at this event. DHR Commissioner B.J. Walker and Stuart Brown, M.D., Director of the Division of Public Health, teachers and students from many Georgia schools as well as leaders in substance abuse prevention will also be on hand to celebrate and bring awareness to a pervasive problem in Georgia.
“Communities all over Georgia will sponsor events to raise awareness and to show their commitment to reducing substance abuse in Georgia during National Red Ribbon Week,” said Dr. Brown. “Substance abuse includes tobacco use, underage drinking, illicit drug use and prescription drug abuse. The combination of these substances is a huge problem for Georgia, especially among our youth with teen abuse of prescription drugs on the rise. This event provides us with yet another opportunity to emphasize how important awareness and education are to combating these issues.”
National Red Ribbon Week, which always officially starts Oct. 23–31, began as an effort to honor Federal Drug Enforcement Agent, Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who was killed in the line of duty. Agent Camarena was kidnapped and brutally murdered in 1985 while working undercover investigating drug traffickers.
In honor of his memory, friends and neighbors began to wear red satin badges. In 1988, the National Family Partnership organized the first Red Ribbon campaign.
Georgia has participated since 1987, and Gov. Sonny Perdue is the honorary chairman. Red Ribbon week activities around the state have grown steadily each year. For more information visit: http://health.state.ga.us/programs/prevention.