On October 20th, 2021, substance misuse prevention professionals from across the state of New Hampshire gathered in Manchester at the DoubleTree Hotel to mark the beginning of National Red Ribbon Week by celebrating prevention work being done across the state.
Makin’ It Happen partnered with DEA New England, Operation Engage to coordinate this Red Ribbon Kick-Off event. Red Ribbon Week raises awareness of substance misuse and the problems related to substances facing our community and encourages parents, educators, business owners, and other community organizations to promote a healthy lifestyle. The Red Ribbon Kick-Off event marked the start to a week of substance misuse prevention activities across the state of New Hampshire which will occur in schools, youth-serving organizations, and other settings.
This event was also an opportunity to acknowledge the challenges of the past two years and the unique prevention opportunities experienced throughout New Hampshire’s communities. Organizations from across the state gathered to celebrate the great prevention work that has been done and continues to be done in New Hampshire. Joining the event were the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Regional Public Health Networks, Drug-Free Community Coalitions, and other organizations. Governor Sununu sent a representative to read a proclamation declaring October 23-31, 2021, as Red Ribbon Week in New Hampshire.
Each of the thirteen Public Health Regions were given an opportunity to nominate an individual or organization that has demonstrated strong prevention, either through a program, event, or initiative. DEA Operation Engage Excellence in Leadership awards were given to the following individuals and organizations:
Lindsey Messina, Austin17 House, Seacoast Region
Prevention professionals have been challenged by rising substance misuse and increasing mental health concerns that have occurred during the pandemic. For those in the field, the work has never paused with many organizations and individuals providing resources, training, and other forms of support to youth and families in our communities.
Executive Director Mary Forsythe-Taber stated “We believe recognizing the great prevention work that is taking place throughout the state is important to share. The awards illustrate the diversity of the work and acknowledge the often behind-the-scenes efforts that have continued throughout the pandemic.”