Chief John J. Bryfonski is pleased to announce the Bedford Police Department will participate in the National Red Ribbon Campaign this month.
The awareness campaign runs from Oct. 23 to Oct. 31 and is the largest drug prevention program in the nation. Those who take part work to educate youth about drug, alcohol and tobacco use and encourage participation in drug prevention activities.
During the course of the week, the Bedford Police Department will be participating in the “Bedford Goes Red” campaign sponsored and coordinated by BeBOLD Bedford, a non-profit drug awareness, education and prevention coalition in town.
To support Red Ribbon Week and “Bedford Goes Red” the Police Department and BeBOLD are asking local businesses and all Bedford community members to “Go Red” by displaying red lights and/or red ribbons on homes or places of business all week. Free ribbons can be picked up at Primary Bank, 207 NH-101, and Cohen Closing and Title, 203 Meetinghouse Road, and will be available while supplies last.
Those who participate are encouraged to take a video or photo and send it to [email protected] to share on social media.
The 2019 Bedford Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicated more Bedford teens are experimenting with heroin, methamphetamines and ecstasy than the state average. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey is a national survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and administered every two years to high school students to monitor six types of health risk-behaviors among youth and adults, including alcohol and drug use.
According to the survey results, 40 Bedford students reported they have tried methamphetamines, which is 2.6% of the student population. The state average is 1.7%. Thirty-three students reported they have tried heroin, which 2.1% of the student population. The state average is 1.5%.
“We are proud to participate in this campaign, which works to positively impact the lives of so many people,” Chief Bryfonski, who worked for the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for 27 years, said. “We will continue to educate students about the devastating effects drug use can have and help lead them down a path where they are making positive choices. The most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey for Bedford underscores the continuing threat posed by substance abuse. Our participation in Red Ribbon Week is a way to refocus attention on this important issue for our community.”
Drug-related deaths in the state remain high as well, though there was a slight decrease from 2018 to 2019. Last year, there were 415 reported drug-related deaths, which was 56 fewer deaths than the previous year. However, this number remains approximately 250% higher than the total number of drug-related deaths reported in 2013, which was 163.
The Red Ribbon campaign was first established in 1985 in response to the murder of Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Enrique Camarenta. Communities across the country then began wearing Red Ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to broadcast a unified message that calls for a change in behavior.
For more information about the Red Ribbon campaign, click here.