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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Putnam County P.I.E. Coalition celebrates Red Ribbon Week

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter meets with P.I.E. Coalition members as they kick off Red Ribbon Week.
The Putnam County P.I.E. Coalition discussed the importance of Red Ribbon Week as members met for their annual meeting Tuesday morning at Jackson's Family Restaurant in Greencastle.

During the meeting, students from the county high schools heard a presentation from Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter on the origins and importance of Red Ribbon Week.

Bookwalter started by explaining the kidnapping and death of DEA agent Kiki Camerina in Mexico. It was because of Camerina's death that his hometown community began wearing red ribbons and pledge to lead drug-free lives to honor Camerina's sacrifice.

After building momentum throughout California, President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan served as honorary chairpersons, bringing it national attention. Today, more than 80 million young people and adults show their commitment to a drug free lifestyle by celebrating the eight-day celebration.

Some of the biggest problems in Putnam County are alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs.

"Ninety percent of what we deal with is alcohol," explained Bookwalter. "It's responsible for a lot of problems."

Prescription drug abuse is on the rise everywhere due it being easily available to most.

"Prescription drugs is the newest, hottest thing going right now," Bookwalter said. "Every medicine cabinet has them."

The problem with prescription drugs is nothing new to the community. Several have died at a young age due to using these drugs for purposes they were not intended.

One major issue for the county is that Interstate 70 runs right through the county.

"The biggest corridor in the United States for drug trafficking is I-70," Bookwalter added.

Students today are faced with many challenges. Bookwalter advised students as they prepare to go off to college in the coming years; they will be faced with many choices, hoping they will make the right ones.

"That freshman year of college you're going to see it all and have to make a choice," Bookwalter said. "That first semester will be a shock."

In honor of Red Ribbon Week Greencastle High School and the Greencastle City Police will be holding a drug-take back effort from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29. A box will be set up in front of the main doors for participants who would like to drop off any old or unused prescription drugs. The drop-off will be completely anonymous.

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