Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The National Red Ribbon Campaign



I was approached to write something about The National Red Ribbon Campaign a few weeks ago and it's been sitting at the forefront of my brain since. I've been debating how I wanted to handle this post; do I just copy the press release or do I add something personal to it? My experience with drugs is not something I often talk about (and no I personally didn't do drugs) because it wasn't my battle, it wasn't my addiction. I figured today I'd talk about it and help spread the word about this awesome cause.

First, let's chat about The National Red Ribbon Campaign, shall we?

WHAT IS RED RIBBON WEEK?

It is an ideal way for people and communities to unite and take a visible stand against substance abuse. Show your personal commitment to a drug-free lifestyle through the symbol of the Red Ribbon, Oct 23rd - 31st.

WHY?

The Red Ribbon Campaign was started when drug traffickers in Mexico City murdered DEA agent Kiki Camarena in 1985. This began the continuing tradition of displaying Red Ribbons as a symbol of intolerance towards the use of drugs. The mission of the Red Ribbon Campaign is to present a unified and visible commitment towards the creation of a DRUG-FREE AMERICA.

WHO?

National Family Partnership is the sponsor of the National Red Ribbon Week Celebration. We are helping citizens across the state come together to keep children, families and communities safe, healthy and drug-free, through parent training, networking and sponsoring the National Red Ribbon Campaign.

WHY SUPPORT THE NATIONAL THEME?

A theme unifies each year's campaign and helps to broadcast one message creating a tipping point to change behavior.

HOW?

Plan a Red Ribbon celebration. Order and display Red Ribbon Materials with the National Red Ribbon Theme. Proceeds from the sale of Red Ribbon theme merchandise helps support prevention programs across America. Order for your family, students, staff, patients, employees and customers and encourage them to wear the red ribbon symbol during Red Ribbon Week, October 23rd - 31st.

Starting September 30th students have an opportunity to participate in the 2011 Red Ribbon Contest, here's all the info:


Now onto my personal experience. I've written this part of the post in my head dozens of times and each time I debate if I want to write it, but in the end I figure if I talk about it, it could help someone, right? Really the only people that know about this is Scott and my friend Dawn. Like I said in the beginning, I've never done any kind of drug that wasn't prescribed to me. Even those I'm not a huge fan of. I don't know if it was the fear of my Dad or the fear of getting caught, but I never had a desire to experiment with anything. I did have friends who did and really watching them was more than enough for me. I was not a fan of seeing what happened to them.

I dated a guy in college that was pretty much high 90% of the time. He, himself, was a great guy....when he wasn't high. He was definitely a hippie, not someone that my normally preppy-self would date, that's for sure. He was mt first honest experience with drugs and what they did to people. Everything revolved around his next high. If we planned on doing anything, it was based around that schedule. About two years after we broke up I saw him when I was walking into my apartment, it was as if nothing changed. He was an 8th year senior or something like that and still the same guy. I have a feeling he's still in the same apartment, doing the same things, and it makes me sad. It's such a waste.

I also had a friend that was pretty heavy into drugs. When I first met him I didn't really quite how heavily he was into drugs. I knew he smoked weed and assumed (foolishly) that was it. I remember sitting one night with him talking about his life and he mentioned he had already been to prison for possession and basically couldn't get a job because of drug testing. He said when he was arrested he was heavy into heroin and basically detoxed in prison. He said he would never go back to it. I couldn't even wrap my head around everything that he was telling me. When he told me the rest of his life story I could see how he came to be on this path in life, it didn't excuse anything, but I could see how that's where he would be. I felt sad for him and wanted to help. It was the Florence Nightingale in me, I had to help.

I slowly started to see him change the longer I was around him, and not for the good, granted it started out that way. I watched him slip back to cocaine, which made him crazy paranoid. I always knew when he was high on it too because he couldn't stop scratching his arms. Then one night I came over and he was completely different and I knew something was extremely off. I had never seen him act the way he was acting. I asked his friends what he was on and naturally nobody wanted to tell me. Finally, I got it out of one of them and they told me he was on heroin again. I basically chewed his friends out because they were with him. Why didn't they stop him? Why would you let your friend do this to himself? Oh yeah, because you were too high to stop him. He almost OD'ed that night and I was there, witness to it all. I helped him when he threw up, took care of him after my morning classes, and believed him when he said he wouldn't do it again. Never believe an addict, they will break your heart every time. He stayed off of everything but weed for a few weeks, maybe a month, I can't remember.

I really thought he was on the right track and then I got the phone call that he had been arrested for beating up a guy in a parking lot. I went to see him after he bailed out and he couldn't even look at me. I knew this was the beginning of the end of our friendship. I slowly watched him dig himself deeper into this hole and I watched everyone else around him enable him. The last time I saw him he looked empty, like he had given up. I found out this past year he died a few years back. I wasn't surprised, and that is sad. He had so much promise for greater things in his life and drugs robbed him of all of it.

This whole topic and story is touchy with Scott and I because he hated that I associated with this guy. Scott, being in security, was always afraid I would get arrested by association or that something worse would happen to me. I was naive and stubborn and still hung around him. Granted, I was on my own path of destruction, but that's a different post entirely. We still do not see eye to eye on the topic but one night I told Scott I would never trade a single night of what I experienced. I never knew how awful drugs truly were until I saw them eat away at this guy. I watched him basically kill himself and it was the saddest and most tragic thing I have ever witnessed. But now I know the signs and I have a story to share to help spread awareness.

For more information on Red Ribbon Week visit the National Family Partnership's Website.

1 comment:

Jenna said...

Hi Amanda!

Just saw your blog on babyhabit! Just stopping by to say it looks great :)

Jenna
callherhappy.com

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