Cazenovia celebrates drug, alcohol prevention

The Cazenovia community celebrated Red Ribbon Week on Monday Oct. 18. In collaboration with Bridges, CAZ ACTION, Cazenovia School District, Cazenovia College and Students Working for Alcohol Truths, our community promoted prevention efforts and provided powerful information to the youth in our community.

Red Ribbon Week began after the kidnapping, torture and brutal murder of Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena in 1985. Agent Camarena had been working undercover in Guadalajara, Mexico for over four years. His efforts led to a tip that resulted in the discovery of a multi-million dollar narcotics manufacturing operation in Chihuahua, Mexico. The successful eradication of this and other drug production operations angered leaders of several drug cartels who sought revenge. As a result, they murdered key informants and then, on Feb. 7, 1985, they kidnapped Agent Camarena and his pilot Captain Alfredo Zavala-Avelar (taken separately on the same day).

The dramatic events that followed Agent Camarena's disappearance exposed the dark world of drug trafficking, including how far drug traffickers would go to maintain power and control.

In Agent Camarena's home town, Calexico, Calif., the public outpouring of support turned in to an organized community response in which citizens wore red ribbons. They became a voice for prevention in order to reduce the demand for illegal drugs and illegal use of legal drugs in America. The following year the California State PTA adopted the Red Ribbon Week campaign. Then, in 1988, Red Ribbon Week was recognized nationally with President Ronald and First Lady Nancy Reagan serving as the first Honorary Chairs.

Today, Red Ribbon Week brings millions of people together to raise awareness regarding the need for alcohol, tobacco and other drug and violence prevention, early intervention, and treatment services. It is the largest, most visible prevention awareness campaign observed annually in the United States.

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