Groups to unite against drugs

By Vickie Snow

Campus and community organizations will join together to promote drug and alcohol awareness during Red Ribbon Week – Oct. 22-29.

This year’s slogan is “My Choice … Drug Free”. The Red Ribbon campaign began in 1985 when federal drug agent Enrique Camarena was killed by drug traffickers.

Citizens, students, faculty and others can participate in the fight against drugs by wearing a red ribbon.

“The community has a chance to work together,” said Rick Johnson, community education coordinator of the Ben Gordon Community Mental Health Center in DeKalb. The center, located on the corner of Rte. 23 and Bethany Rd., sees “a disturbing number of chemical dependency in teens and pre-teens,” he said.

“The ribbons symbolize awareness of how wide-spread the problem is,” Johnson said, “And displaying them means a lot.”

A campus group, Boost Alcohol Consciousness Concerning the Health of University Students (BACCHUS), will join the Ben Gordon Center for a red ribbon tying ceremony, Oct. 23 at 10:30 a.m., to “represent the campus,” said BACCHUS’s Faculty Adviser Joanne Deuth.

“We care and are going to do something about it,” Johnson said, adding, “We back prevention of drug and alcohol abuse.”

BACCHUS, a national organization, was recognized by NIU’s Student Association last year. It plans activities to promote alcohol awareness and “responsible drinking, not necessarily abstinence,” Deuth said.

BACCHUS also will participate in National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week, Oct. 16-20. On Oct. 17 a breathalizer demonstration will be held in cooperation with the DeKalb Police Department. A mock DUI disaster will be held the following day, Deuth said.

Frequently, BACCHUS is asked by various organizations, such as CAB and residence halls, to provide non-alcoholic bars for different events, Deuth said.

Feb. 23-24, BACCHUS will host the statewide conference at NIU.