Red Ribbon Week provides information about drug abuse


Photo Credit: Julia Rooney

by Julia Blando, Senior Staff Writer

Red Ribbon Week is a nationwide drug and alcohol awareness and prevention week, taking place the last week of October. The purpose is to provide students with information on drugs and alcohol: the dangers, the risk factors, and to prevention techniques. This is a national event, but it is not required to be celebrated by public or private schools.

This specific week of awareness was started after Enrique Camarena, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, was abducted and murdered in Mexico in 1985, while on assignment.

“A lot of times, people think it’s ‘those’ people. They think ‘it doesn’t impact me, it’s not going to happen to me, or my friends, or anyone I know,’ and it can happen to anyone. Addiction doesn’t discriminate,” the Student Assistance Counselor, Ms. Danielle Helder, said.

Glen Rock High School sees the importance of drug and alcohol awareness, and chose to celebrate Red Ribbon Week to prevent future loss, consequences, and educate students.  A student speaker came to Glen Rock from Northern Highlands on Monday, Oct. 26 to educate those of all grades on the dangers of heroin.

The recent deaths of celebrities made this Northern Highlands student want to investigate further. She first talked about celebrities and then move into Bergen county events. As she continued to learn more, she was surprised at how impacted Bergen County was — the tenth grade speaker was joined by a mother who had lost her child to a heroin overdose.

“Heroin is huge in New Jersey,” Helder said. “Paterson is the ‘hubbub’ of a lot of stuff, and that’s only three miles from here. So, there’s a lot happening in North Jersey and its surrounding areas, and it’s impacting the suburbs.”

She will be interviewing a recovering addict, as well as a mother who has lost a child to substance abuse.

“It doesn’t care about your socioeconomic status, it doesn’t care about your race, gender, your age; it doesn’t care. And from the work that I’ve done with addiction, I’ve worked with people who are nurses, social workers, CEOs of companies, cheerleaders, athletes… we need to stop pretending it’s not happening, because it’s happening everywhere,” Helder said.

If the work Glen Rock is doing as little as causing students to ask questions, crave more information, or consider getting the help they need, it will be considered a success.

Anyone who would like someone to talk to regarding any drug and alcohol experiences or problems, or any other issues, you can talk to the school Student Assistance Counselor. Anything said, unless putting any person in serious danger, will be kept confidential.