Two Marine Corps installations were recognized for the excellence of their drug awareness and educations programs this week at the Community Drug Awareness Awards ceremony in the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes.

The Secretary of Defense Community Drug Awareness Award is presented annually to the best Drug Demand Reduction Program (DDRP) within each Service, the National Guard Bureau, and the Defense Agencies. This year the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command (MAGTFTC), Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) Twentynine Palms, and Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma were selected to receive the award for the Marine Corps.  

In order to be considered for the award, each DDRP needed to exhibit enthusiasm and energy in designing and implementing DDRPs for the benefit of Marines and their family members.

MCAS Yuma focused on raising awareness of the dangers of synthetic drugs by creating two innovative campaigns entitled “WAX: The New Marijuana” and “FLAKKA: The New Synthetic Drug.” Additionally, due to increased numbers of Marines being on prescription medication, a series of trainings regarding the abuse of prescription medication called “Use, Abuse and Misuse of Prescription Medication,” “Process of Addiction” and “Basic Drug Recognition Training by Local Law Enforcement” was presented to Marines and their dependents aboard MCAS Yuma.

For MAGTFTC, 29 Palms, the challenge was upholding the Marine Corps policy on prohibited substance use in an environment with a high operational tempo and ongoing deployments. Each year, roughly one-third of the Fleet Marine Force and Marine Reserve participate in trainings aboard the Combat Center. Through collaboration with other commands aboard the Combat Center and the local community, the DDRP was able to increase hands on training and the administering of urinalysis testing. The result was a drug positive rate aboard MAGTFTC of .49 percent, well below the DoD target of 2 percent. All commands aboard the Combat Center were also able to maintain 100 percent compliance with monthly testing during FY15.

The 2016 Fulcrum Shield Award, which recognizes an independent military-affiliated youth organization for its top anti-drug work in the community, was also presented at the awards ceremony. This year’s award was presented to the Young Marines of the Marine Corps League, East Valley, Arizona.

Both awards are part of the DoD’s Red Ribbon Week initiatives. Red Ribbon Week honors the memory of Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent and former Marine Enrique (Kiki) Camarena who was murdered by drug traffickers in 1985.  This annual observance of the continuing work to make a drug-free Marine Corps is the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the country and will be marked by commands setting aside time to emphasize the benefits of pursuing a drug-free lifestyle. This year Red Ribbon Week will take place October 23-31.

For more information on Red Ribbon Week and the Drug Demand Reduction Program, contact your local Substance Abuse Program.