By Angela Peacock
Waking up at 5:30 a.m. Sunday to decorate Tucumcari with hundreds of red ribbons had a specific purpose for Regina Rael and 25 other local volunteers.
Since 1988 Rael, Tucumcari New Mexico state police secretary, has made it a point, during National Red Ribbon Week, to share with local residents how vital it is to become educated about the negative effects drugs have on everyone in a community.
“I want make people aware that drugs are prevalent in this nation, and that they will effect everybody at sometime during their lifetime,” Rael said. “Whether it’s through vandalism, a personal battle or one with a loved one drugs have a domino effect, and anyone who thinks they’re immune is wrong.”
Tucumcari elementary school will recognize Red Ribbon week Oct. 27-31 with various daily activities relating to drug awareness. Jana Frost, coordinator for TES Red Ribbon Week, believes elementary is exactly where drug awareness and prevention education must start.
She said it disturbs her to know that children are exposed to trying drugs at younger ages now more than ever.
“Educating children at this young of an age sets the foundation of some of their choices that aren’t far off,” Frost said. “It shouldn’t be discounted in any community that drugs are a problem, but in any community this size with these demographics drugs are a problem regardless of location.”
Though red ribbon week is filled with fun activities for children Rael said she hopes it’s also a reminder for adults that the war on drugs is far from over in America.
“There is a drug problem in Tucumcari, it needs to be addressed and our judicial system needs to take a more hard core look at it and not just give people a slap on the hand,” Rael said. “We need to do whatever we can to keep our children away from drugs and by trying to legalize certain drugs will eventually do greater. Parents need to spend more time with their children and explain that people need to have good clean brains to sort out our feelings and emotions and we don’t need a crutch of any sort to do so.”