BRADENTON, FL, October 18th, 2022 – As Manatee County’s Drug Abuse Prevention Coalition, Drug Free Manatee invites the community to join in recognizing Red Ribbon Week from October 23rd through 31st with its 2022 event lineup. Red Ribbon Week raises awareness of the impact of substance abuse facing our community, and encourages parents, educators, business owners and other community organizations to promote healthy lifestyles free of substance abuse.
This year will kick off on Sunday, October 23rd with red ribbons popping up all over downtown Bradenton to commemorate the official start of Red Ribbon Week. These events are a crucial part of spreading the mission of Drug Free Manatee. “Red Ribbon Week encourages our entire community to adopt healthy, drug-free lifestyles,” said Dr. Linda Thompson, Executive Director/CEO of Drug Free Manatee. “This week of awareness brings together parents, schools and businesses as we look for ways to keep our kids and our community resilient and resistant to substance misuse.” The event line up for the rest of the week includes:
A Narcan Drive Thru Event on October 24th from 4:30 to 7:00 PM at The Salvation Army, located at 1204 14th St W, Bradenton, FL 34205. Drug Free Manatee will be distributing FREE, potentially life-saving NARCAN product as an important part of their efforts to help prevent overdose. The public is invited to stop by, ask questions and pick up FREE Narcan and educational resources to prepare in the case of an Opioid overdose emergency.
Drug Free Manatee will host a Candlelight Vigil on October 26th from 7:00 to 8:00 PM at the Riverwalk Pavilion, located at 452 Third Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34205. Please join Drug Free Manatee and Mayor Gene Brown to remember and honor those lost to addiction and overdose. Prayers will be led by Elder F.J. Jenkins Jr., the Pastor at Place of Grace Community Church and Pastor Benita Callahan of Carter Temple Church. Community leaders will speak and members of our community who have lost loved ones will share their story.
The week’s recognition will culminate with the annual Red Ribbon Breakfast on October 27th from 7:30 to 9:30 AM at IMG Academy Golf Club, located at 4350 El Conquistador Pkwy, Bradenton, FL 34210. The 2022 Champions of Prevention Winners will be honored, and a silent auction will be held. All proceeds support Drug Free Manatee’s mission to prevent and reduce substance abuse while promoting health and wellness throughout the county.
Red Ribbon Week started after the death of Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who was brutally tortured and murdered in 1985 by drug traffickers he was investigating in Mexico. The oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation reaching millions each year, the Red Ribbon Campaign is honored annually from October 23rd to 31st and is dedicated to helping preserve Special Agent Camarena’s memory. By gathering together in special events and wearing red ribbons during the last week in October, Americans from all walks of life demonstrate their opposition to drugs.
As Manatee County’s Drug Abuse Prevention Coalition, Drug Free Manatee is a 501c3 organization that develops and implements comprehensive, evidence-based environmental strategies to prevent and reduce substance abuse while promoting health and wellness throughout the county, especially among youth. The coalition is run on the support of the community through sponsorships, partnerships, donations and volunteers.
Drug Free Manatee would like to thank their 2022-2023 Guardians of the County Annual Sponsors, including Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, MCR Health and North River Prevention Partners. The support of these organizations helps to provide invaluable community resources and allows for greater outreach throughout the year from their generous donations. Drug Free Manatee also thanks this year’s Community Defender Sponsors, including Centerstone and Suncoast Behavioral Health, whose donations help support Red Ribbon Week Events and other coalition initiatives.
Drug Free Manatee is focused on making the maximum positive effort by using data driven models to provide solutions that make a long-lasting difference. Founded in 2001, Drug Free Manatee receives grant support from Central Florida Behavioral Health Network, SAMHSA, Bradenton Police Department and State Farm Insurance, as well as support from Manatee County Government as the Prevention Coalition for the county and local contributions.
There are many ways to support the mission of Drug Free Manatee. To find out more about the coalition’s initiatives and learn about volunteer opportunities, fundraising events and ways to get involved, please call 941-749-3030 ext. 3490, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.drugfreemanatee.org.