Hopi groups organize to fight substance abuse

HOPI RESERVATION, Ariz. - Over the past two weeks, two organizations held planning meetings to bring community awareness to the Hopi community regarding substance abuse, which is a major problem in most Native communities.

The Hopi Alliance Against Substance Abuse (HAASA) held their meeting to prepare for Red Ribbon Month, which was officially proclaimed by the Hopi Tribe for the month of October. A Red Ribbon Run is held annually, and is sponsored by the Behavioral Health Services Department. HAASA participates in numerous events throughout the year and is currently setting a yearly calendar.

In addition to Red Ribbon Month, they also participate in various events throughout the year. Members of HAASA include a tribal ranger, school counselors and substance abuse treatment workers from the community.

Members of the Behavioral Health Services, sponsors of the Red Ribbon Relay, also held a meeting to prepare for their big event in October, scheduled for Oct. 28. This event will consist of a relay from both ends of the reservation, culminating in a rally at the Hopi Tribal Office.

Racers plan to stop by area schools along the way to allow students to participate in the run without having to miss school.

Red Ribbon Week was established to commemorate DEA agent Enrique Camerena who was tortured and killed by drug cartels while investigating drug smuggling in Mexico. Every year many communities designate the last week of October as Red Ribbon Week to commemorate his efforts in fighting the drug problem.

Different activities such as school presentations, wearing of red ribbons and community events take place to bring education and awareness of the drug problem in various communities. The Hopi Reservation has had its share of recent events that were attributed to drug and alcohol usage and abuse. Through the efforts of these organizations and others, they hope to bring a clean and sober environment for everyone to enjoy a healthier livelihood. For more information, visit www.redribboncoalition.com.

The month of September is also National Recovery Month in observance of the social benefits of substance abuse treatment according to National Alcohol and Drug Addiction website. The purpose is to bring attention to the public that substance abuse is national health crisis that affects families, communities, workplace and society as a whole. For more information, visit

www.recoverymonth.gov.

For more information on the Red Ribbon Relay, call (928) 737-6300. To contact HAASA, call (928) 734-0300.

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