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Local officials recognize Red Ribbon Week

Local governments have signed proclamations recognizing next week as Red Ribbon Week in Troup County, which raises awareness of the dangers of drug and alcohol use by minors.

On Tuesday morning, the Troup County Board of Commissioners joined ranks with the City of West Point and the City of Hogansville by presenting a proclamation declaring Oct. 23 through 31 as Red Ribbon Week. Hogansville presented a similar proclamation on Monday night, and West Point presented a proclamation last week. The City of LaGrange is expected to present a proclamation for Red Ribbon Week on Monday, the first day of Red Ribbon Week.

“Red Ribbon Week is important for our school children and really our whole community to bring awareness of drugs and alcohol and the problems that exist when using and also to show our school children and our community members alternatives to drug and alcohol,” said Shannon Lawson, Troup County Prevention Coalition coordinator. “[The proclamation shows] the importance of the community supporting drug free lifestyles not only during Red Ribbon Week, but throughout the whole year.”

Troup County schools generally celebrate the week with fun activities like dress up days and guest speakers.

“Each year, our schools participate in helping students understand the importance of the Red Ribbon Week campaign,” said Yolanda Stephen, director of public relations for the Troup County Board of Education. “This year the theme is ‘Life is Your Journey. Travel Drug Free.’ While there will be fun aspects to the week — including dress up days — there will also be opportunities for our partners in education to speak to students about living a life that is drug and alcohol free.”

This year, with the proclamations, local politicians recognized the importance of fighting alcohol and drug abuse as a community.

“It is important to our community that we do everything we can to get substance abuse — whether it is drugs or alcohol —under control, especially amongst our younger people,” said Hogansville Mayor Bill Stankiewicz. “It is a detriment to the community in so many ways. We just have to do everything we can to put it to an end.”

The dangers of substance abuse were also noted.

“It’s important because of the overwhelming dangers of substance abuse, especially among our youth,” said LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton. “Any awareness we can bring to the issues and encouragement we can offer our children and their parents is worthwhile. The future is so bright for these young women and men, and our community owes it to them to help them achieve their full potential.”

Local politicians said that efforts to curb substance abuse stem beyond just local students though.

“I want to thank all the volunteers and organizations in our community that work to try to tackle that issue of drug abuse and alcoholism,” County Commission Chairman Patrick Crews said. “I appreciate that it is a hard battle, so I thank them for what they do for the community. This week we can bring attention to that and give focus to it.”

West Point Mayor Steve Tramell agreed, noting that the problem is a nationwide issue.

“Drugs are a problem everywhere, and it is important that we do everything we can to eradicate them and keep our citizens healthy and off drugs,” Tramell said.

Anyone who wants to post online about Red Ribbon Week is encouraged to use #mystoryis.