Florida’s Counterdrug team sets record with Red Ribbon Week numbers

Written by  //  November 5, 2011  //  Feature Stories

By Capt. Jeanette Kingsley
Florida National Guard Counterdrug Program

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (Nov. 6, 2011) – This year more Florida schoolchildren understand the dangers of abusing legal and illegal drugs than ever before, thanks to experts from the Florida National Guard’s Counterdrug Program.

1st Lt. Roye Locklear of the Florida National Guard's Drug Demand Reduction (DDR) team chats with schoolchildren during a Red Ribbon Week event in Florida in October. This year representatives from Counterdrug’s DDR conducted Red Ribbon Week presentations to more than a 126,000 schoolchildren throughout the state. Courtesy photo

In late October twelve representatives from Counterdrug’s Drug Demand Reduction (DDR) team conducted Red Ribbon Week presentations to more than a 126,000 schoolchildren throughout the state. This number topped even last year’s record-breaking Red Ribbon Week, when the DDR team reached just over 93,000 of Florida’s youth.

Red Ribbon Week is the nation’s oldest drug awareness event that is celebrated annually during the last week of October.  Florida’s DDR Program recognizes the increased risk-level for substance use and abuse by youth, and makes it a mission to educate Florida’s youth throughout the year with the essential leadership qualities that enable them to make healthy and safe choices.

The Drug Demand Reduction program focuses on teaching its award-winning curriculum called Night Vision.  Night Vision is a drug education program that talks about the negative effects of using and abusing legal and illegal drugs.  These presentations given to students in grades 3-12 are interactive and can lead to the life-long impact of avoiding drugs.  Props or displays used, such as pig lungs (healthy and unhealthy), a giant cigarette with a sheet showing the harmful ingredients, Mr. Gross Mouth, fake glasses of alcohol, and fatal vision goggles are used to stimulate learning. 

This year DDR also presented conducting four aerial displays using the Counterdrug’s own UH-72 Lakota helicopter to show and tell the youth about the extraordinary duties and mission of the Florida National Guard Counterdrug Program.