Red Ribbon Week is happening in Prince William County from October 23 to October 31.
According to county documents, Red Ribbon Week is “a national campaign to spread education to youth and families about the dangers of drugs”.
The campaign started in 1985 in response to the murder of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camrena. The community in response to the death began wearing red ribbons to “raise awareness of the killing and destruction caused by drugs”, according to county documents.
People across the county will don their red ribbons this week, including officers from the Prince William County Police Department.
“This week is really geared toward awareness of drug abuse and things like that…that specifically targets our youth,” said Sergeant Jonathan Perok.
While Red Ribbon Week speaks to drug abuse as a whole, with the growing attention being paid to the opioid epidemic in the United States, that will be the focus, according to Perok.
“During this week, it’s pretty much just to raise awareness for families to take active roles in their child’s lives…[substance abuse] is a community problem, it’s not just a specific problem to one household,” said Perok.
Perok touched on how School Resource Officers (SROs) help identify and handle situations where Prince William students may be involved in drug use or related issues.
“Our SROs are in the schools to educate staff, to help educate students, and to look for potential signs of abuse, and to respond to any sort of tips they receive about that,” said Perok.
Red Ribbon Week coincides with related trainings like opioid antidote training recently conducted in Woodbridge by the Chris Atwood Foundation.
During Red Ribbon Week, the Community Healthcare Coalition of Greater Prince William is hosting “Opioid Epidemic: Let’s Talk About it” on October 24 from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. at Stonewall Jackson High School.
There will be individuals taking part in a community panel, and organizations offering resources and information to attendees.
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