The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Red Ribbon Week, A Week to Make Choices


November 3, 2021

The Theme for the 2021 Red Ribbon week is “Drug Free Looks Like me.”

At the High School, Diana Keen said the student council was stepping up to run the week. They talked about Nicotine on Monday. They are learning that both regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes have Nicotine in them. According to John Hopkins Medical School, Nicotine is a highly addictive drug as harmful as heroin and cocaine. Nicotine raises your blood pressure and increases your heart rate.

Tuesday, they visited about alcohol in the teen mind, which causes damage to the brain development in teenagers. Alcohol should not be consumed till you are in your 20’s because the brain is still developing.

Thursday, they learned that Marijuana during the teen years could also cause developmental difficulties causing the teen brain to stop developing correctly.

Drugs, if taken, including alcohol, and Marijuana can develop numerous adverse effects, including difficulty thinking and problem-solving, problems with memory and learning, impaired coordination, a decline in school performance, increased risk of mental health issues, increased risk for addiction, impaired driving, and difficulty maintaining attention.

At the FE Miley Grade school, the 6th-grade class helped Diana Keen by passing out smarties (candy) and visiting with each class about different subjects around being drug free. Like what can you do to make yourself happy besides taking drugs? What is the difference between drugs and medicine, how to say no to your friends, and what can you do instead of taking drugs.

Parents can help their children be drug free Talk to them about bad habits; in other words, look at your own bad habits, model a healthy lifestyle (eating healthy and staying active), teach them stress management or learn yourself how to manage stress, unplug.

This year they talked about how to make good choices. I miss my chance each year during Red Ribbon week to have this same discussion for adults. I visited with Diana Keen about this very thing, and the truth is we have to “Make choices before we are faced with making choices. Adults often self-medicate with drugs and medicine. There are always ways to cope without drugs.” Yes, it is a tricky discussion because sometimes we need a prescription to help with depression or other mental illnesses. But having that discussion with a medical provider is essential.

Red Ribbon week started in 1985 when a USA DEA officer, Kiki Camarina, working out of Guadalajara, Mexico, was kidnapped, tortured, beaten, and killed. Congress organized Red Ribbon Week, which Nancy Reagan brought to national attention.


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