| 03.19.2018

Avoiding abuse


The Latah County Youth Advocacy Council is hosting Red Ribbon Week — one of many annual events sponsored by LCYAC to promote healthy lifestyles.        Red Ribbon Week is celebrated yearly during the last week of October by communities around the United States to celebrate healthy drug
free lifestyles. 

According to the D.A.R.E. program national office, Red Ribbon Week began in 1986 as a way to honor DEA agent Enrique Camarena who was abducted and murdered while on a DEA assignment in Mexico in 1985. The week is intended to  spread awareness on the ill effects of drug use.

This year, LCYAC will bring prosecuting attorney turned motivational speaker Monte Stiles to speak on the dangers of drug abuse.

Debi Dockins, LCYAC prevention coordinator, plays a vital role in bringing people like Stiles to the Palouse, and said she is glad to bring Stiles to area schools.
“The Latah County Youth Advocacy Council is a grant based coalition of students and parents from the surrounding areas,” Dockins said. “We host many events, and (Stiles) is our main event for Red Ribbon Week. He has decades of experience in drug prevention and has a great message. (Stiles) will be speaking at six schools in Latah County during Red Ribbon Week and we are really excited to have him
up here.”

Stiles spent many years prosecuting drug crimes, but now spreads his drug- free message in schools throughout the country. Stiles does a lot of work in Idaho and advocates for healthy outdoor lifestyles instead of
drug use.

Rio Harris, LCYAC media coordinator, said Stiles was an obvious choice for keynote speaker for Red Ribbon Week.

“We decided to bring in a speaker to talk to Latah County schools about being drug free,” Harris said. “Monte Stiles was the first person to come to mind. The Latah County Youth Advocacy Council works closely with Idaho Drug Free Youth and we have worked with (Stiles) before at some of their retreats. He has an inspirational story working as a drug prosecutor and eventually leaving his job and advocating for more
prevention work.”

Stiles’ presentations aim to contrast the lifestyle associated with drug abuse to the natural world. Harris said the presentations help stress how detrimental drug abuse can be, and they are an integral part in prevention.
“We hand out red ribbons and bracelets, the kids would wear them and remember those things are dangerous,” Harris said. “It helps people remember that drugs are not just some fun thing you see on TV, they are dangerous and can really hurt peoples lives.”

Stiles’ visit is just one of the many things the LCYAC coordinates to promote healthy lifestyles throughout the community. Harris said it is an ongoing process that involves many different groups on the Palouse.

“We aren’t only targeting schools, we go after businesses and change makers in the community as well,” Harris said. “Hopefully, we can help them see that drug and alcohol abuse and drug trafficking are big issues that must be kept in the forefront of our minds in order to keep our
children safe.”


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