Tampa, Fl [October 2, 2012]—Among the exquisite costumes, tasty candy and spooky Jack-O-lanterns, you’ll find inconspicuous red ribbons sprinkled throughout your happily haunted community October 23-31. A nationally renowned event, Red Ribbon Week promotes substance abuse awareness across the United States. These seven days are overflowing with educational workshops, making Red Ribbon Week the perfect opportunity to talk to your children to prevent unwise choices or help someone who is currently struggling with addiction.
Jackie Griffin of LiveFree! Coalition is already sporting her red ribbon for this year’s National Red Ribbon Week. “I like to think of the Red Ribbon as a warning sign to alert parents to protect their children and talk with them about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs. It’s our time to prevent a lifetime of heartache.”
As a mother herself, Jackie understands the importance (and potential awkwardness) of talking to your children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. “It doesn’t have to be an awkward or preachy talk. It just needs to be thoughtful conversation,” she states. “There’s lots of different approaches one might take. For example, you and your family could check out a Red Ribbon Week event in your area and learn the information together.”
This year, LiveFree! will be celebrating Red Ribbon in partnership with the St. Petersburg College, October 25 at the Health Education Center. Experts will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., exhibiting information and presenting educational sessions. You’ll also find them making arts and crafts, rocking out to live music or climbing the rock wall at the 9th Annual Red Ribbon Family Fun Fest on October 27th at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg.
Operation PAR, Inc. is the fiscal agent of the LiveFree! Coalition and is a nationally known prevention provider, serving the community for the past 43 years. As such, the agency serves as a national resource for those seeking expert advice on the risks of drugs and alcohol, coping strategies and more. According to Kay Doughty, VP of Family and Community Services at Operation PAR, the best way to look for signs that a loved one may be suffering from substance abuse is to look for a difference in their behavior. Kay further explains, “Changes in personality, motivation, focus and attitude are all common indicators.” She also points out that our colleagues may be battling with substance abuse as well and suggests calling 1-888-PAR-NEXT to get help.
Where else will LiveFree! be joining prevention partners this month? Join LiveFree! Coalition at the NOPE candlelight vigil at Largo Central Park October 25 at 7p or in Walk Like MADD on October 5 at 5p in Indian Rocks Beach. Looking to get even more involved? Check out LiveFree!’s website a www.pinellascoalition.com or “Like” them on Facebook for essay contests, pledge cards and more Red Ribbon Week activities in the Tampa Bay area.
About LiveFree! Coalition
LiveFree! is a coalition that raises awareness about the harmful effects of substance abuse among youth, young adults and adults in Pinellas County. By offering trainings, town hall meetings, a Speaker’s Bureau and awareness events, LiveFree! encourages the Pinellas County community to live safe, healthy and drug-free. For more information, visit www.pinellascoalition.com.