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DOD targets drug abuse during Red Ribbon Week

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AFNS) -- "Drug free is the key" is the theme for Red Ribbon Week 2009 and is a reminder to TRICARE beneficiaries of the dangers of unhealthy lifestyle habits.

Red Ribbon Week is the nation's oldest and largest drug prevention program, reaching millions of Americans during the last week of October every year. The Defense Department's 2009 Red Ribbon Week observation is set for Oct. 23-31. Since 1990, DOD has officially participated in this event to raise public awareness and mobilize communities to combat tobacco, alcohol and drug use among military personnel, civilians and their families.

Each year officials in DOD and the military services sponsor Red Ribbon Week activities to focus attention on the destructive effects drugs have on America. To celebrate DOD's efforts to keep Americans drug-free, Pentagon officials will host an awards ceremony on Oct. 23 at 9:30 a.m. in the Pentagon Hall of Heroes. The ceremony is open to all DOD employees.

Tricare officials urge beneficiaries dealing with substance abuse to take advantage of the many available options to treat substance abuse and disorders. Services include detoxification, rehabilitation and outpatient group and family therapy.

There are also a number of DOD and Tricare educational programs to raise awareness of some of these issues. For example, the award-winning "Quit Tobacco. Make Everyone Proud" smoking cessation campaign can be found at http://www.ucanquit2.org. Users can develop a personalized plan for quitting, play games, listen to podcasts, connect to on-line cessation programs and even chat with a trained cessation counselor, seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. EST.

"That Guy," is an award-winning social marketing initiative to raise awareness about alcohol abuse. The campaign targets 18-24 year old service members and highlights social disapproval of excessive drinking by featuring the embarrassing consequences. Check out the interactive Web site at http://www.thatguy.com.

For more information about DOD observation of Red Ribbon Week visit http://tricare.mil/tma/DDRP/red-ribbon-week.aspx.