Red Ribbon Week, and oldest and largest drug prevention campaign for school students in the nation, opened this weekend, and the lessons the observance encourages youngsters to learn are crucial for their success - now as students and in years to come as adults. Thatís because if they arenít physically and mentally alert enough to function, their futures are bleak. They risk falling into a series of criminal and hazardous behaviors at worst, and they risk squandering their talents and abilities at best.

Red Ribbon Week reminds the students - and adults - that societyís hopes and dreams for our children are closely related to their personal commitment to stay away from drug abuse.

Americaís children are facing major lifestyle decisions at younger ages than ever before. Red Ribbon Week and many other initiatives are bearing fruit, as many young people are choosing to remain drug-free. Health organizations can cover us with statistics, but despite progress in many areas the problem remains. And every individual whose life is counted in the sad numbers is an individual who will not be able to reach his or her full potential as a productive member of society.

Wearing a strip of red material during the end of October may be a simple act, but thereís a powerful message attached to it. While Red Ribbon Week is observed primarily in schools, the campaign touches people of all ages and in all walks of life. Its message hits home with anyone who understands the dangers of illegal drug use.

Brownwood Bulletin