The Department of Defense will celebrate the 2006 Red Ribbon Week beginning Monday Oct 23 at 11 a.m. in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes. This year’s theme is “United Against Drugs,” focusing on educating individuals, families, and communities on the destructive effects of drugs and the positive alternative life choices that are available to our youth.
John P. Walters, the director of the national drug control policy, will present the Gordon England, deputy secretary of defense, the award for excellence in countering illicit drug use in support of the President’s National Drug Control Strategy. The award is being presented to the DoD drug-testing program for a thirty-five year record of standard-setting success. As a result, DoD has decreased illicit drug use among service members by 92 percent and the program has become the model for the drug testing industry.
The ceremony will continue with a presentation by The Thomas O’Connell, assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low intensity conflict, of the Sixteenth Annual Secretary of Defense Community Drug Awards and the Sixth Annual Secretary of Defense Fulcrum Shield Awards.
In 1990, DoD joined in the national effort by commencing an award program to encourage service members to become involved in keeping communities drug-free and to recognize outstanding outreach programs. Each year, one winner is selected from each Service, the National Guard, and participating Defense agencies to receive the Secretary of Defense’s Community Drug Awareness Award. This award is presented to the military installation or program from each of these organizations that are deemed to have the best anti-drug program for that year.
In 2001, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for counternarcotics established an award to recognize the efforts of independent military-affiliated youth organizations that have successfully assisted in spreading the anti-drug message throughout their community. The Fulcrum Shield Award for Excellence in Youth Anti-Drug Programs will be presented for the sixth time this fall.
Retired Maj. Gen. Arthur T. Dean, chairman and chief executive officer, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, will give remarks. His responsibilities as chairman and CEO include providing strategic direction, diversifying and increasing funding, leading the board, being primary spokesman for the organization.
Red Ribbon Week originated as a tribute to Special Agent Enrique "Kiki" S. Camarena of the Drug Enforcement Administration. In 1985, he was killed by drug traffickers in Guadalajara, Mexico. Kiki’s death enraged many Americans in his hometown of Calexico, Calif., and they began to wear red ribbons to commemorate his sacrifice. The anti-drug message spread quickly, and in 1988, the National Family Partnership took the Red Ribbon Celebration nationwide.