The month of October has been dedicated to honouring the Red Ribbon Campaign, a campaign that was started to spread awareness among the youth and the NMI community of the harmful and life-threatening affects of drugs.
Last Thursday, members of the Superior Court and U.S. District Court for the NMI, the local and federal drug enforcement, the administration of Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, and students of Saipan Southern High School gathered at the SSHS library to witness the signing of the proclamation dedicating October to the Red Ribbon movement.
According to District Court Chief Judge Ramona Manglona, the Red Ribbon campaign use to be mainly a federal effort in the CNMI but over the years, the state government has gotten involved greatly resulting in progress for the movement.
Manglona also added that through the movement and the involvement of both federal and state governments, the number of drug-related cases have been dropping in the CNMI, at least in the District Court.
The month will be dedicated to educating the community about preventing the use of drugs in mainly the youth, and also educating the community about what steps can be taken to recover from the affects of drugs.
Last Thursday, aside from the signing of the proclamation, the students of SSHS were administered the Red Ribbon Campaign oath by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Ed Talbot that basically swears that they would abstain from the use of drugs.
According to the interim Education commissioner Glenn Muña, the local public school system will always be ready to take on the pledge along with the nation to remain drug free and to promote a healthy community.
Torres said that the drug problem that the CNMI faces is not new but major progress in the battle against drugs has been seen and he encourages students to join the battle.
“It is important that our students stay away from drugs…the minute you start mingling with drugs…it is very difficult to get out. But when you do, we do have assistance and it is never to late to step up and ask for help,” he said.
The Red Ribbon proclamation signing was held at the Saipan Southern High School because they won the gate decoration competition last year.
This year’s Red Ribbon campaign theme is “Life is your journey, travel drug free.”
The Red Ribbon movement was started in the United States following the murder of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena. Camarena was kidnapped and tortured to death in Mexico. The DEA sent Camarena to work undercover in Mexico to investigate a major drug cartel but in 1985, Camarena was found in a shallow grave having been tortured to death by members of the cartel.
Following his murder, angered parents and youth in communities across the country began wearing Red Ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the killing and destruction caused by drugs in America.