NIAGARA FALLS – Red Ribbon Week, which starts Monday, is designed to stop the spread of drug addiction and associated destructive behavior.
In Niagara Falls, that message will be the centerpiece of “Take a Stand Day 2012” from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in front of the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center, 1201 Pine Ave.
Red Ribbon Week is a national program that was conceived in 1985 to honor the life and memory of Drug Enforcement Agent Enrique Camarena, who was kidnapped, tortured and killed by drug traffickers. This year, more than 80 million Americans are expected to participate.
The week has been commemorated in Niagara Falls for more than a decade under the sponsorship of Northpointe Council and is designed to educate community members about choices and healthy lifestyles.
Participation is also growing, with between 70 and 80 members of the community carrying signs and encouraging their neighbors to remain drug-free. All community members are invited to participate Wednesday.
“It’s a visible message,” said Northpointe Council Senior Prevention Specialist Cheri Kelly. “[The rally] is all these people from all different backgrounds, and we are all standing together to show that we support a drug-free lifestyle.”
Kelly said participants will carry signs and encourage passing motorists to honk their horns if they are drug-free.
“We are trying to show the positive side of Niagara Falls,” Kelly said. “We are trying to secure a role in that. We don’t always see if someone makes a call [based on our rally], but we hope that they do.”
Niagara Falls Police Superintendent John R. Chella said the city has a drug problem, and he called events such as the rally an important part of changing that lifestyle.
“It’s kind of like the [prescription] pill drop off; it makes people aware of the problem,” Chella said
Anyone interested in getting help beating an addiction or supporting a family member can call Northpointe at 282-1228.