LRAFB DDRP wins 2019 Red Ribbon Award

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Mariam K. Springs
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness annouced Sept. 5, 2019, that the 19th Airlift Wing Drug Demand Reduction Program won the 29th-annual Secretary of Defense Community Drug Awareness Award, which is given to one installation from each military branch, making LRAFB the 2019 U.S. Air Force category winner.

The Red Ribbon Award highlights all the prevention efforts that have been made throughout the past year by the DDRP’s joint service and multiagency coalition.

The installation’s DDRP supports the 19th AW’s mission by maintaining the health and wellness of a fit and ready fighting force, encouraging a drug-free Air Force community, and enforcing the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988.

“We’re very fortunate to be here at Little Rock Air Force Base because we have an amazing community action board and team that make sure we can come together to not only hit one issue, but a variety of others,” said Sharise Holland, DDRP program manager.

LRAFB’s location in central Arkansas is in the High Interest Drug Threat Gulf Coast region, making it imperative for the DDRP to help foster a drug-free community.

Prevention efforts were extended to providing community outreach to both on and off-base populations targeting Department of Defense civilians, family members, retirees, and contractors.

The program delivers a variety of prevention efforts throughout the year, however during Red Ribbon week in October, the annual drug awareness campaign is in full force.

Last year the campaign was kicked-off by a 5K color run, where over 150 Airmen participated in the event and received promotional anti-drug products.

During RRW, the program also delivered direct prevention efforts to the community by educating three local schools about substance abuse and improper use.

“We’re trying to hit early education, from preschool to fifth grade, where we can make a huge impact and let them know different options,” Holland said.

These school visits had supporting members ranging from security forces, The Office of Special Investigations, mental health, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment program managers, as well as outside agencies including the Jacksonville Police Department.

While DDRP is known for being in charge of drug testing personnel on base, they also visit squadrons to emphasize the importance of prevention.

“We provide other alternatives like education to our units and let them know their options, resources, as well as their value,” Holland said. “We want to make sure we’re mission-ready, and if there are drugs or substance abuse issues, we’re not focused on the mission.”

Holland will be attending the Red Ribbon Awards Ceremony to receive the Red Ribbon Award for Team Little Rock Oct. 17 at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.

“I’m super excited to see what next year holds for us, as we are continuously growing,” Holland said. “With this amazing team we have—that’s not only DDRP, but our substance abuse coalition—I think it’s just going to get better and better.”