The Department of Defense today announced the recipients for the 2001 Secretary of Defense Community Drug Awareness Awards. The Secretary of Defense's Community Drug Awareness Awards are presented each year to recognize both servicemembers who become involved in keeping communities drug-free, and outstanding community anti-drug outreach programs.
The Defense Department also announced the winners of the 1st Annual Fulcrum Shield Award for Excellence in Youth Anti-Drug Programs. This award is named in honor of the five military personnel from Fort Bliss, Texas who were killed in an airplane crash in 1999 while on a counterdrug reconnaissance mission in Colombia. The award recognizes military-affiliated youth organizations around the world who have made concerted efforts at spreading the anti-drug message throughout their communities.
The winners of the 2001 Secretary of Defense Community Drug Awareness Awards are:
- The 9th Reserve Support Command Drug, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Program, Fort Shafter, Hawaii;
- The Naval Support Activity Mid-South Chief Petty Officer's Association, Millington, Tenn.;
- Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command, Twentynine Palms, Calif.;
- Drug Demand Reduction Program, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.;
- New York National Guard Counterdrug Task Force's Corps of Cadets Program;
- The Defense Supply Center Columbus (DSCC) Employee Assistance Program, Columbus, Ohio.
The Fulcrum Shield Award for Excellence in Youth Anti-Drug Programs is being presented to two groups:
- The Young Marines National Headquarters, Washington, D.C.;
- The Idaho Drug Free Youth program, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
Each year, the Defense Department officially recognizes Red Ribbon Week in October. The observance is part of a national program of anti-drug education and drug abuse awareness sponsored by the National Family Partnership. The focus is to educate individuals, families, and communities on the destructive effects of drugs and the positive alternative life choices that are available. This year, the president and Laura Bush are serving as the honorary chairpersons for Red Ribbon Week.
In 1985, Special Agent Enrique S. "Kiki" Camarena of the Drug Enforcement Administration was kidnapped in Guadalajara, Mexico and killed by drug traffickers. Shortly after Camarena's death, citizens from his hometown of Calexico, Calif. began to wear red ribbons to remember him and to commemorate his sacrifice. The anti-drug message spread quickly and in 1988 the National Family Partnership took the red ribbon celebration nationwide. The red ribbon now symbolizes a continuing commitment to reducing the demand for illicit drugs within our communities.
Each year a ceremony is conducted at the Pentagon to commemorate the department's observance of Red Ribbon Week. Given the tragic events of September 11, 2001, that event will not be held this year. Instead, Andr D. Hollis, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics, will present the awards at various ceremonies outside the Pentagon.