This past week was a very important week in our Nation, Red Ribbon Week. Red Ribbon week is celebrated the last week in October each year. Red Ribbon week was made a national program by President Ronald Raegan in 1988 to honor Special agent Enrique (Kiki) Camarena for his work to prevent drugs from entering the United Sates. Special Agent Enrique was a US Marine who eventually became a DEA agent. He was about to expose a multi-billion dollar drug pipeline into the US when he was kidnapped and killed by the drug lords. His friends began wearing Red Ribbons and pledging to be drug free, which is how Red Ribbon week began. Each year, schools across America celebrate this week, and use it to bring awareness to today’s youth about the dangers of drugs. As a Young Marine, I have had many hours of training in DDR (drug demand reduction) and wanted to help spread the word. In the Young Marines we use the motto, “Closing the gate on drugs.” Believing that if we can have young people learn skills to avoid those gateway drugs, we can help America have less drug abuse. Agent Kiki Camarena believed that one person could make a difference. This week I set out to be one of those trying to make a difference. With the current problem of opioid drug abuse in our country, It is critical that we make kids aware of the dangers of drugs. I was able to give presentations for Red Ribbon Week to about 100 students at a local Castle Rock Middle School. They were engaged, asked questions, and it became clear that our best hope at becoming a drug free nation really is our youth. The students pledged to be drug free, now and in the future. But more importantly, they left with the message of Agent Camarena… one person can make a difference, and took the pledge to help spread the word to their peers and families. While Red Ribbon Week is only one week out of the year, we must remember the lessons to be learned. A drug free nation starts by educating our youth, and I am grateful to have Red Ribbon week as an opportunity to spread the word. I leave you with the motto I talked with the middle schoolers about, I pledge to be drug free! Join me in spreading the word of leading a drug free lifestyle and take the pledge to be drug free.