CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — One community on Kadena Air Base is coming together to take a “visual stand” against drugs during the nation’s annual Red Ribbon Week, Oct. 23-31.

Kadena Middle School’s Adolescent Substance Abuse Counseling Services (ASACS) program is hosting a “Say Boo to Drugs: Family Activity Night” from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday. All community members are invited, but the night’s events are focused on the school’s students and their families, according to principal Linda Connelly.

“It is important for families to get involved because the average age that American youth experiment with alcohol is between 11 and 13,” Connelly said in an e-mail interview. “Parents have an opportunity to show support for drug-free schools and activities as well as to model behaviors they want their children to emulate. Youth and teens are encouraged to pledge support or make a commitment to be alcohol- and drug-free.”

Throughout the event, substance abuse prevention and education messages will be passed on through various activities. Connelly said some activities will educate about what Red Ribbon Week is, while others are intended to spark family discussions or relay messages of personal development and enhancement.

Activities range from ASACS Bingo and Jeopardy — retooled with anti-drug and prevention themes — to a Red Ribbon race and bowling with goggles, Connelly said. A scary, but educational, “key to a drug-free lifestyle” activity also will be held, in which families must solve riddles to help students find ways to stay drug-free. A mini scavenger hunt also is planned, she said, in which teams will be given nine clues to figure out information on prevention, Red Ribbon week and community resources.

Connelly said she wants parents and students to walk away from the event knowing that prevention works.

“Drug awareness plays an important role in prevention education and, ultimately, the reduction of adolescent risks for substance use and abuse,” she said. “Research has proven that substance abuse prevention is effective. Research has also shown that teens who delay the use of alcohol and other drugs are least likely to abuse alcohol or other drugs as adults.”

Contact Kadena Middle School at DSN 634-0217 for more information on the event.

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