October 17, 2013
More than 1,000 Texas fifth-grade students wearing mustaches pledged to remain drug-free at the 16th annual Red Ribbon Rally, held today at the State Capitol. Representing the Corpus Christi, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin areas, the fifth-graders wore mustaches and T-shirts that read, “I mustache [must ask] you not to do drugs” as they marched to the south steps of the Capitol.
The Red Ribbon Rally at the State Capitol kicks off Red Ribbon Week, the nation’s oldest and largest anti-drug awareness campaign that reaches millions of students nationwide. Red Ribbon Week, observed from Oct. 23-31, includes school and community-based events across Texas.
Recent data show many types of drug use among Texas youth continue to decline. Marijuana and alcohol are still the most commonly used drugs among seventh- through 12th-graders, but even those rates are falling, with the only increases in the abuse of some prescription drugs. Among elementary school students, rates of alcohol, tobacco, inhalants and marijuana use fell from 2010 to 2012. Awareness efforts such as today’s Red Ribbon Rally help continue these trends
Along with featuring Red Ribbon Week, October is National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. Parents should be aware of the importance of monitoring their prescription medicines, keeping them locked up and making sure to dispose of them properly. Parents also need to have conversations with their children about making good decisions, especially when it comes to abusing prescription drugs.
Today’s statewide kickoff rally featured performances from rapper Police I.C.E.; the Texas Children’s Choir; Colonel Suzanne Adkinson, Commander of the Texas Joint Counterdrug Task Force; and a San Antonio youth dance troupe called HYPE (Helping Youth Prevention through Entertainment) that encourages teens to stay drug- and alcohol-free. Students also held mock legislative sessions in the Texas House and Senate chambers, where they voted on drug- and alcohol-related resolutions they drafted at school before coming to the Capitol.
The Red Ribbon Rally is made possible through funding from the Texas Department of State Health Services’ division of Mental Abuse and Substance Abuse Services. Other sponsors include the AT&T Pioneers, Blue Bell Creameries Inc., Texas National Guard, The Greater Dallas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Bay Area Alliance for Youth and Family Services and the San Antonio Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.
The Red Ribbon initiative began as a grassroots movement to honor the memory of Enrique “Kiki”
Camarena, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent who was kidnapped, tortured and killed in 1985 by drug dealers in Mexico.
(News Media Contact: Chris Van Deusen, DSHS Press Officer, 512-776-7753)
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