Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Talk About It Tuesday ~ Advocating For Red Ribbon Week

Honestly, I had never heard of the story behind this campaign until recently when I was asked to write about it. And, honestly, it was shocking.

Usually on the blog, we talk about issues or conditions that aren't discussed as much as they probably should be and to do our part to help raise awareness for these areas. At the very least, it may inspire someone to learn more about the topics and the importance of bringing them into a brighter light. Red Ribbon Week is definitely one of these subjects.

From what I have learned, this isn't just another story about drugs and drug trafficking. It honors a man who lived his life doing his part to not only bring what is still a very serious problem under control, but he died by the very hands he fought so hard to bring down. Special Agent Enrique Camarena  had a dangerous and often life-endangering position as a Special Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) who'd spent four years trailing the major drug traffickers. When he got too close to exposing the leaders of this group, he was reassigned for his own safety only to be kidnapped, brutally tortured and murdered.

A few of the drug leaders who killed Enrique were finally sentenced, but really. There is realistically no way to remove them all. As long as these people are still out there creating it, there will be people moving it to dealers who mindlessly provide it to users, most tragically, to our youth. Enrique left behind three sons. And I'm guessing he pictured their faces every time he left to do his job of bringing down these traffickers. 

I remember years ago watching a movie called Traffic that gives a very vivid picture of the supply chain of drugs from the user all the way to the top. It deeply impacted me on many levels as a viewer can see how far this spreads. It isn't just the trafficker, provider or user. There are families who are also affected at every level, as proven in Enrique's case. And it's dangerous, not just being a part of the chain, but also in every aspect of the full-blown user at the bottom of it who becomes the most judged as their struggles are what we actually see and experience.

To me, it's sad. Just...really sad. And that's why we decided to do a small dedication to Red Ribbon Week. The way I see it, starting at the bottom is the best place to make a difference. If there is no one left to use, there will be no need to create or move. But it's been a problem for a long time and one that, unfortunately, will not go away anytime soon. All we can do is keep talking about it. Reaching even just one person is a life saved.

I'll leave you on this subject with a quote from the movie, Traffic, that Roger Ebert actually quoted in his review of the movie. One of the teens, who was a heavy user and got his girlfriend addicted, said, "For someone my age, it's a lot easier for me to get drugs, than it is to get alcohol."

Makes you think, doesn't it?

Remember Special Agent Enrique Camarena and his family this week.

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