GRAAB observes week of awareness
by Special to the Banner
Oct 23, 2012 | 832 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As part of continuing efforts for the 31 Days of Prevention, the GRAAB Coalition “... invites the community to take a visible stand against drugs” by celebrating Red Ribbon Week.

The observation begins today and continues through Oct. 31.

“Red Ribbon Week encourages our entire community to adopt healthy, drug-free lifestyles,” according to Tanya Southerland, executive director of the Going Respectively Against Addictive Behaviors Coalition.

She added, “The campaign brings together parents, schools and businesses as we look for innovative ways to keep kids and communities drug free. Each business, school or organization is free to celebrate Red Ribbon Week in his or her own unique way. Locally, on Friday, Oct. 26, we encourage the community to wear something red in support of Red Ribbon Week.”

Red Ribbon Week raises awareness of drug use, abuse, addictions and the problems related to drugs facing the Cleveland and Bradley County community, and it encourages parents, educators, business owners and other community organizations to promote drug-free lifestyles, Southerland said.

The red ribbon symbolizes a continuing commitment to reducing the demand for illicit drugs in local communities. In 1985, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Enrique S. "Kiki" Camarena was killed by drug traffickers. Shortly after Camarena's death, residents of his hometown of Calexico, Calif., began wearing red ribbons to remember him and commemorate his sacrifice. Congress established Red Ribbon Week in 1988.

“Red Ribbon Week gives us the opportunity to be vocal and visible in our efforts to achieve a drug-free community,” Southerland said. “Research shows that children are less likely to use alcohol and other drugs when parents and other role models are clear and consistent in their opposition to substance use and abuse.”

Visit for more information about Red Ribbon Week or contact the GRAAB Coalition, 423-472-5800.

In an effort to heighten awareness of the issue of substance abuse and addiction recovery locally, the GRAAB Coalition has proclaimed “31 Days of Prevention” for the month of October. Working with “partners in prevention,” the GRAAB Coalition is working to “collaborate, educate and empower” the residents of Cleveland and Bradley County.

The mission of the GRAAB Coalition is to bring together concerned individuals, members of the community and service providers to facilitate lowering illicit and addictive use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs in Bradley County, by providing effective education, recovery and support for youth, families and the community.