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Red Ribbon Week will focus on drug awareness
Red Ribbon Week pic
Coach Thad Burgess High School Marketing classes, which include students Brittany Paterson and John Garner, participated in a Red Ribbon Week billboard contest. Gardners winning design premiered on the digital billboard at Hwy. 53 and Perimeter Road. - photo by For the Dawson Community News

More than 1,500 schools across Georgia are setting aside time this week to celebrate drug-free students.

Running through Oct. 31, the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Develop­mental Disabilities kicked off Red Ribbon Week.

"National Red Ribbon Week is a time set aside each year to specifically focus on drug awareness," said Janice Darnell, director of student support for Dawson County. "The red ribbon is a symbolic reminder of the importance in educating youth of the harmful effects of drug use and to encourage participation in drug prevention activities."

This year's theme for Dawson County is "Love Yourself: Be Drug Free."

As part of the overall theme and recognition of the week; faculty, staff and students will be wearing red clothing and ribbons.

"The Dawson County School District wants all of its children to be safe and drug free so they may reach their full potential and become healthy, happy, productive citizens," Darnell said. "The school counselors work with teachers and administrators to plan and provide special activities each day during Red Ribbon Week."

Darnell said the activities are designed to provide informative lessons of drug awareness and ways to address social pressures for usage.

Also participating in Red Ribbon Week is Dawson County Family Connection.

"This year the ‘Be The Key,' Dawson County's underage drinking prevention campaign, created by Dawson County Family Connection, is participating in Red Ribbon Week by distributing 2,800 red ribbons to the elementary and middle schools in Dawson County, so that they can take part in standing against drugs and alcohol abuse," said Family Connection Director Nancy Stites.

In support of the week-long event, red ribbons will be put up around the city to show support.

"Dawson County schools and several community organizations will be putting up large red ribbons on their doors throughout Red Ribbon Week to show their support for the campaign," Stites said. "Take this time to talk to your children about the dangers of underage drinking and drugs."