(Canton, Ohio) – Red, the color associated with National Family Partnership’s Red Ribbon Campaign, will shine on the Stark County Court of Common Pleas at 101 West Tuscarawas St. in downtown Canton from October 23 to October 31– which is known as Red Ribbon Week.
Since 1985 the Red Ribbon has served as a catalyst to mobilize communities to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities; the public display will remind Stark Countians that everyone has a role to play in substance abuse prevention.
“Prevention efforts need to be these near-constant conversations and reminders that happen at home, at school, and in the community,” said John Aller, executive director of Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery (StarkMHAR). “Experimenting with substances at a young age has been associated with changes in brain chemistry that can lead to addiction later in life – so the sooner we talk to the kids in our lives about this, the better. In fact, open communication about the risks that come with substances is a leading indicator of youth making healthy choices. These conversations can start as early as age nine; if you’re not sure where to begin, there are talking points for any age on the StarkMHAR website,” he continued. (https://starkmhar.org/help/drugabusetalkingpoints/)
While Red Ribbon Week is a good reminder, prevention is a StarkMHAR focus year-round. The Drug-Free Stark County community coalition, which is sponsored by StarkMHAR, began in 2006 and has been recognized on the local and state levels for its work in substance abuse prevention and community education and awareness. The coalition works with law enforcement personnel, school administrators, students, guidance counselors, health care workers, alcohol and drug treatment providers, the faith-based community, and local business people to mobilize efforts around reaching youth, the use of research-based techniques, reducing risk factors, and more.
Red Ribbon Week will see several other awareness activities, too. Information, fun things to do as a family and helpful links will be posted on the Drug-Free Stark County Facebook page all week. Local youth-serving groups will be an engaging discussion about making healthy choices when it comes to substances. Schools will be sending information to parents to help them educate their children and get them involved in positive activities. Finally, educators are also encouraged to check out the Red Ribbon campaign website at https://www.redribbon.org/ for activity ideas and additional resources.