EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – In an effort to increase drug prevention awareness, Eastchester is going red this week, participating in Red Ribbon week along with other communities around Westchester County.
Red Ribbon Week - the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the country – is celebrated within communities each year during the last week of October. This year, several organizations have come together to fill the void of the Eastchester Communities that Care (ECTC), which previously spearheaded efforts during the week, and is no longer active.
Red Ribbon Week was started after U.S. Drug Enforcement Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena was killed in Mexico in 1985 while investigating drug traffickers. Before he was discovered to be dead, residents in his hometown in California wore red ribbons to show their support. A national movement at the end of October spawned from there.
Donna Gallucci, a former board member of the ECTC, previously had been tasked with running and organizing events during Red Ribbon Week. She said that it is an important week for everyone in the community to be aware of.
“By wearing a red ribbon, or hanging a banner, Americans demonstrate their support for a drug free lifestyle,” she said. “It helps teens see others that have chosen not to use drugs. It’s important for them to know they are not alone in choosing a drug free lifestyle.”
At the High School, student-led organizations adorned the high school, grounds and trees along White Plains Road with red ribbons. This year, the Eastchester Volunteer Ambulance Corp. will hold a prescription drug take back event. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26, residents can bring prescription medications for safe disposal.
In celebration of Red Ribbon Week, police Chief Timothy Bonci announced that a permanent medication return collection unit will be placed in the lobby of the police department. The unit will be available at all times, and no questions will be asked of those that dispose of medication. Bonci was not available for comment on Tuesday, but Gallucci said that this is a tremendous step forward in the fight against drugs.
“This is an invaluable addition to our community for disposal of potentially harmful medications,” she added. “This will curb abuse or misuse of unwanted medications.”