More than three decades after DEA Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena was murdered by drug traffickers and since the Red Ribbon campaign was launched to raise awareness about the destructiveness of drugs, Santa Clarita Valley individuals turned out in force this week to rally around that message.
More than 100 people aware of the devastation caused by drugs gathered at the Action Family Counseling on Soledad Canyon Road Monday to remember Camarena as one of the illegal drug trade’s many victims and to help in their small part to stamp out local drug use – and prevent more SCV victims.
“The event was held to bring awareness and education to drug usage in and around our community,” event organizer Scott Quashen told The Signal.
Guests at the Red Ribbon event – heroin addicts, social workers and counsellors – were treated to a sit down dinner and lots of information.
More than half a dozen tables were set up convention style, inside and outside the Action building – with volunteer attendees answering questions about drug addiction.
Action’s Jaycee Patt quoted from the Red Ribbon program literature, Quashen said.
Speakers at the event – including Kathy Hunter, Jesse Fienkbiner and, of course, Action head Cary Quashen – touched on concerns about drug use by SCV kids.
Those attending got the benefit of insight from a seasoned drug cop.
Recently retired Investigator Bob Wachsmuth, who works with the Juvenile Intervention Team of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, shared his experience with the group. Wachsmuth, who was brought in by former SCV Sheriff’s Captain Paul Becker to help the station’s Juvenile Team fight drug use in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Wachsmuth explained to attendees how the drug fight is often personal, noting that he and his deputies frequently make “house calls” for people in need.
“Rather than arresting, he understands that intervention is a more solution orientated approach to drug usage, and encourages this approach when dealing with certain situations,” Scott Quashen told The Signal.
His father Cary Quashen explained to the group that people become drug addicted when they’re not actively being careful and engaging in risky behaviors.
As he often says when he gets in front of an audience, “Nobody starts with heroin.”
The Red Ribbon campaign is sponsored by the National Family Partnership which began as a grassroots, nonprofit organization in 1980 by a handful of concerned and determined parents who were convinced they should begin to play a leadership role in drug prevention.
At one time, Nancy Reagan served as the group’s Honorary Chair.
The group’s website explains the campaign as an a attempt to mobilize communities in educating kids and encourage them to take part in drug prevention activities.
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