The Secretary of Defense Community Drug Awareness Award is presented to drug demand reduction programs in each of the services, the National Guard, and the Defense agencies.
"In 1990, the Department of Defense began an award program to encourage service members to become involved in keeping communities drug-free and to recognize outstanding outreach programs," said Mary Beth Long, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for counternarcotics.
The Fulcrum Shield Award, which was first presented in 2001, is given to a youth organization in each of the Services, National Guard, and the Defense agencies that best promotes the anti-drug message in its community.
"The Secretary of Defense Fulcrum Shield Award was named in honor of the five military personnel from Fort Bliss, Texas, who were killed in an airplane crash in 1999 while on a counter-drug reconnaissance mission," Long said.
Nominations for both awards are to be submitted to the secretary of the Army or chief of the National Guard Bureau, who will then forward the nominations to the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics by June 1.
The awards will be given out on Oct. 24, as a part of Red Ribbon week, which is dedicated to anti-drug education and drug abuse awareness.
"The focus is to educate individuals, families, and communities on the destructive effects of drugs and the positive alternative life choices that are available," Long said.
Red Ribbon week first started in 1985 as a tribute to Special Agent Enrique "Kiki" S. Camarena. Camarena, of the Drug Enforcement Administration, was kidnapped and killed by drug traffickers in Guadalajara, Mexico. As a tribute to Camarena and his sacrifice, family and friends wore red ribbons.
Then in 1988 the National Family Partnership took the Red Ribbon message nationwide as a symbol of anti-drug use. Two years later the Department of Defense backed this message of lowering drug use in communities and within the Department of Defense.
"It is important to recognize groups that help spread the anti-drug message as their efforts contribute to our efforts to ensure that DoD community members make educated decisions about the risks involved with drug use. These groups encourage people to lead healthy, drug-free lifestyles. Drug use impairs judgment and military readiness," Long said.
For additional information about award nominations contact Ms. Joanna Eccles at (703) 697-5709.