Manassas Young Marines Wins DEA Drug Demand Reduction Award

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Provided by Ginny Richardson Public Relations

The DEA selected the Manassas Young Marines for the Enrique “Kiki” Camarena Award for division two. This area includes five states: Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky. The award is for drug demand reduction efforts through community education and peer-to-peer role modeling.

The awards were announced by Sean Fearns, chief, Community Outreach with the DEA, at the Young Marines Annual Adult Leaders’ Conference. The announcements took place virtually on Thursday, May 7 from the Young Marines Headquarters in Dumfries.

Uttam Dhillon is acting administrator of the DEA. Dhillon said, “Congratulations to all of the winners of the Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena Division Award. The Young Marines are true leaders in the community. Thank you for your commitment to educating your peers about the importance of staying drug free. I commend each of you for getting the message out on drug prevention and making a positive impact on your community.”

Young Marine units are judged on drug demand reduction (DDR) hours, curriculum and the steps taken to reach out to the community to include peers and others. Units can enter pictures, endorsements, proclamations, videos and other items that help demonstrate their drug demand reduction efforts. The best three entries per division are sent to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s headquarters. A winner from each division is selected.

Joe Lusignan is drug demand reduction resource officer with the Young Marines. Lusignan said, “We are extremely proud of our relationship with the DEA… [We] congratulate the six outstanding units who won this prestigious award. Each year the submissions get more and more creative…[U]nits [are]taking initiative to get out of the classrooms and out into their communities, spreading our message of leading a healthy drug free lifestyle. Minimum effort, or just filling out a form, is just not competitive.  These units are on the cutting edge not only of effort, but also enthusiasm and creativity.  Our Young Marines are truly committed to making a difference, and their efforts are being recognized.”

About the Award

The award is named in memory of DEA Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena who served as a Marine. He was very concerned about the drug problem in the U.S., and in 1974, he became a special agent with the DEA. Agent Camarena worked in Mexico, and he had come dangerously close to exposing the top leaders of a multi-billion drug pipeline. He was abducted and brutally murdered in 1985 at the age of 37.

Agent Camarena received numerous awards while with the DEA, and posthumously received the Administrator’s Award of Honor, the highest award given by the organization. In 2004, the Enrique S. Camarena Foundation was established in his memory.

In addition, National Red Ribbon Week was established in Agent Camarena’s memory. It is time set aside to teach young people to avoid drug use. One of the qualifiers for the award is Young Marines units’ participation in Red Ribbon Week, which takes place each year Oct. 23 – 31.

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