October 27, 2015 --
Drug Enforcement Agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena was undercover while investigating a major drug cartel in Mexico. While at lunch with his wife, Camarena was abducted and tortured. The 37-year-old’s body was found a month later, according to the DEA’s website, www.dea.gov/redribbon/RedRibbon_history.shtml.
In honor of his memory, Red Ribbon Week was established. To commemorate, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany officials are hosting several events and initiatives to bring awareness to issues relating to drug abuse and prevention.
Kim Cleveland, program manager, Substance Abuse Counseling Center, Marine and Family Programs, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, visited several offices to introduce herself to the Marines on the installation.
“A lot of Marines don’t know who I am, and the rest of them think it is a bad thing to come see me,” Cleveland said. “I want them to understand they can come by my office any time to talk and it doesn’t have to be a bad thing.”
She offered Marines cupcakes and grapes during her visits, along with flyers indicating dates and locations to drop off outdated or unused prescription drugs.
To provide Marines with information on the dangers of drugs abuse, John Bringuel, project director, Georgia Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Initiative, The Council on Alcohol and Drugs, spoke at the Base Theater, Oct. 23.
One area of concern discussed was child abuse and neglect. Bringuel explained after completing research for a thesis, he found the No. 1 factor in the cases he studied was drugs. He reported out of the 148 families involved with his research, 97 percent of them had some drug abuse involvement.
Another area of concern relating to children is accidental or purposeful ingestion of prescription drugs. According to Bringuel, in the state of Georgia, the Georgia Poison Center reported 80 percent of children, 12 years or younger, going to an emergency room is due to purposeful or unintentional ingestion of prescription drugs.
To prevent this occurrence, he suggested locking all prescription drugs away in a secured place. He added adults should never take prescription drugs in front of children.
“Taking prescription drugs is an adult behavior and should not be done in front of our kids,” he advised. “If they see us taking pills, when they get their hands on medication, they may mimic that behavior.”
Although Bringuel said more people are dying from intentional or unintentional ingestion of prescription drugs than all other drugs combined, he warned of dangers relating to abusing alcohol and illegal drugs.
“Any substance, whether it is legal or illegal, when misused, can be life-threatening,” Bringuel said.
He said his desire for each person is to be self-aware and understand the dangers, which will arm individuals with the ability to avoid misuse or addiction.
Cleveland concurred and reiterated Marines can come see her at any time with questions or concerns.
“My door is always open because I truly care about you and your career,” she said.
For more information, call Cleveland at 229-639-7941.