Red Rib­bon Week

Gar­land County CARES helps schools cel­e­brate

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Spotlight On -

Gar­land County Coali­tion for Ad­dic­tion, Re­cov­ery, Ed­u­ca­tion, and Sup­port is pro­mot­ing drug preven­tion by help­ing school dis­tricts in the county or­ga­nize Red Rib­bon Week cel­e­bra­tions.

Gar­land County CARES co­or­di­na­tor Tonna But­zlaff said the or­ga­ni­za­tion, for the sixth year, is help­ing par­ents and schools “de­liver an ef­fec­tive drug preven­tion cur­ricu­lum.”

“We pro­mote Red Rib­bon Week as an aware­ness cam­paign,” she said. “It gets the in­for­ma­tion to the gen­eral pub­lic about the dan­gers of drug abuse.”

But­zlaff said Red Rib­bon Week, which takes place Oct. 23-31 this year, is de­signed “to be an ex­pe­ri­en­tial learn­ing les­son for the students and adults. They work to­gether on ac­tiv­i­ties to de­velop a sense of pur­pose.”

But­zlaff said some of the dis­tricts’ ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude dres­sup days, plant­ing red tulips and preven­tion ral­lies. She said each of the seven dis­tricts will dis­play red pin wheels, with about 3,000 or­dered by the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“We al­ways like to let them (school dis­tricts) know we are here and avail­able with any re­sources to come out and talk to the students,” she said, adding that dif­fer­ent pro­grams are de­signed for dif­fer­ent age lev­els.

But­zlaff said she en­cour­ages par­ents to ask ques­tions and build a strong re­la­tion­ship with their chil­dren, and en­cour­ages par­ents to take a pledge about drug abuse preven­tion.

“We re­ally like to stress to par­ents to talk to their kids,” she said. “I think that is the most im­por­tant thing they can do.”

But­zlaff said she en­cour­ages each school dis­trict to have students take the Arkansas Preven­tion Needs As­sess­ment Sur­vey, a free anony­mous ques­tion­naire of­fered to sixth-, eighth-, 10thand 12th-graders.

“They take the sur­vey once a year, and the re­sults are sent to the schools,” she said. “The schools take that in­for­ma­tion and know what they need to work on and at­tend to. We’re so for­tu­nate in Gar­land County be­cause all seven school dis­tricts par­tic­i­pate.”

But­zlaff said the or­ga­ni­za­tion also works with the Gar­land County Sher­iff’s Depart­ment on its pre­scrip­tion drug take-back pro­gram and in­stalled a per­ma­nent drop site ear­lier this year for un­used med­i­ca­tion.

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