FORT BUCHANAN, Puerto Rico –
Various service members and federal civilian employees supported the Red Ribbon Week campaign, led by the 1st Mission Support Command and U.S. Army Garrison Command Fort Buchanan Army Substance Abuse Program, by wearing a red shirt for work to raise awareness about the dangers of substance abuse and encourage healthy, drug-free lifestyles Oct. 25.
Red Ribbon Week is a national campaign in the United States. Dr. Carlos Montañez Cintrón, the ASAP coordinator for the USAGC Fort Buchanan, explained that the campaign was established in 1985 to honor Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, an American Drug Enforcement Administration agent who was killed in the line of duty while working undercover to investigate drug trafficking.
"The red ribbon has become a symbol of his sacrifice and a commitment to drug prevention efforts," said Dr. Montañez. "With the slogan 'Be kind to your mind, live drug-free,' our aim is to raise awareness in the community."
An information booth was set up at The Exchange here, where informative pamphlets and campaign materials were distributed. Visitors were also educated on the proper use and handling of controlled substances.
The goal is to guide veterans and the community towards a healthier, drug-free lifestyle, said Sgt. 1st Class Yadira Valle Lopez, a soldier of the 1st MSC working at the ASAP information booth.
"We are actively raising awareness in the community about substance abuse and promoting Drug Collection Week," said Yesenia Pagan Rosario, the Drug Testing Coordinator of the 1st MSC. "On October 28, the Fort Buchanan community will have the opportunity to drop off their expired, unused, or unwanted medications at the Fort Buchanan's PX from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm."
Pagan Rosario explained that the event is organized by the DEA and promotes proper disposal of medicines.
Visitors at the Exchange expressed their appreciation for the initiative, as they believe that the information provided promotes the well-being of the community.
"I found the presentation very informative because there are times when people are unaware of the consequences of mishandling medications," said Jose Miguel Rodriguez Melendez, a retired veteran.
"The last time I attended an event like this, I received a campaign ribbon, which I still have hanging in my vehicle to raise awareness," said Nilda Lopez, the wife of a retired veteran.
The 1st Mission Support Command offers services and programs that enhance readiness and resiliency, like the Sexual Harassment and Assault Program (SHARP), Suicide and Prevention, Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP), and Private Public Partnership Office.