City and county officials are saying NO this week - to drugs.

As part of National Red Ribbon Week, the city of Provo, in conjunction with local schools, is tying red ribbons around trees and light posts in the downtown area as a reminder to citizens to say no to drugs and alcohol.Mayor Joe Jenkins and sixth-grade students from Franklin and Provost elementary schools tied ribbons Monday in a ceremony that included a special presentation from Kevin Tipton and Norma Martin, emergency room nurses at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center.

"We feel the time to start is now, with children this age," said Raylene Ireland, Jenkin's administrative assistant. "We believe this presentation will send them a message that will last for a lifetime."

During the presentation Tipton and Martin showed slides of patients who sustained injuries in accidents involving alcohol. The 11- and 12 year-olds were told that one teenager is killed every hour in alcohol- or drug-related accidents in the United States.

Tipton said that when a person is in an automobile accident there are actually three collisions that occur: the first one is the impact on the car; the second is the body colliding with the interior of the car; the third is the movement of internal organs colliding with other organs inside the body. This is where a lot of damage occurs, especially to the brain, he said.

The National Red Ribbon Campaign was launched in 1985 in response to the murder of American Agent Enrique Camarena by Mexican drug traffickers. The red ribbon has become the symbol of America's battle against drugs.

Tipton said most children have had the opportunity to taste alcohol or take drugs by the time they are 10 years old. It is important for boys and girls to understand the ramifications of drinking alcohol, he said.

"It takes 5 to 15 years for an adult to become alcoholic," Tipton said. "It only takes 2 to 6 months for you to have an alcohol problem.

"You (the children) have a responsibility to yourself to decide now to say no. You alone can decide on the activities you will be involved in."

Various programs have been scheduled throughout the week as part of the national awareness program. As part of the program, high school football teams will wear red patches during this weekend's football games.


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Kids ideas on drinking and driving:

Sixth-grade students from Franklin and Provost elementary schools in Provo showed their knowledge of drinking and driving during a special presentation Monday. If teenagers are going to drink at parties or away from home the 11- and 12 year-olds offer the following suggestions:

- Have a designated driver

- Appoint a "key master" to hold all car keys for those drinking

- Call a taxi

- Have a prearranged ride home

- Sleep over

- Don't be afraid to call your parents