The Young Marines and DEA Presents Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena Awards

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The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Young Marines youth organization announced the Young Marines unit winners of the Enrique "Kiki" Camarena Award. The award honors six units for drug demand reduction efforts through community education and peer-to-peer role modeling.

The DEA presents Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena Awards to six Young Marines units

The DEA presents Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena Awards to six Young Marines units

"We are impressed with the Young Marines peer-to-peer education and community awareness about the dangers associated with using drugs," said Karen Dorough supervisory special agent with the DEA.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Young Marines youth organization announced the Young Marines unit winners of the Enrique "Kiki" Camarena Award. The award honors six units, one award per division, for drug demand reduction efforts through community education and peer-to-peer role modeling.

The awards were presented by Milton Tyrrell and Karen Dorough, both supervisory special agents with the DEA, at the Young Marines Annual Adult Leaders' Conference on Saturday, May 7, 2016, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The winners are:

  • Division One - Natchaug River Young Marines, Danielson, Connecticut
  • Division Two - Southern Maryland Young Marines, California, Maryland
  • Division Three - Young Marines of Pensacola, Pensacola, Florida
  • Division Four - Douglas County Young Marines, Parker, Colorado
  • Division Five - Pulaski Young Marines, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
  • Division Six - Chino Valley Young Marines, Chino Hills, California

“The DEA is pleased to sponsor the Enrique 'Kiki' Camarena Division Award for the Young Marines' work as a unit in promoting Red Ribbon Week and spreading the prevention message,” Karen Dorough said. "We are impressed with the Young Marines peer-to-peer education and community awareness about the dangers associated with using drugs. The DEA congratulates the winning units, and we thank each of them for their efforts in educating the community about the drug problem.”

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 are allowed to enter pictures, endorsements, proclamations, videos and other items that help demonstrate their drug demand reduction efforts. The best two or three entries per division are sent to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s headquarters, and a winner from each division is selected.

"We are proud to work with the DEA, and we congratulate the six outstanding units who won this prestigious award," said Joe Lusignan, drug demand reduction resource officer with the Young Marines. "Our campaign is called 'Closing the Gate on Drugs' which targets the gateway drugs: alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, prescription/over the counter medication, and inhalants. Our youth members are effective peer-to-peer role models for living healthy, drug-free lives."

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. He 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 after his death, he 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. The 2016 Red Ribbon Week is Oct. 23 – 31, 2016.

About the Young Marines

The Young Marines is a national non-profit 501c(3) youth education and service program for boys and girls, age eight through the completion of high school. The Young Marines promotes the mental, moral and physical development of its members. The program focuses on teaching the values of leadership, teamwork and self-discipline, so its members can live and promote a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.

Since the Young Marines' humble beginnings in 1959 with one unit and a handful of boys, the organization has grown to 281 units with 9,600 youth and 2,400 adult volunteers in 40 states, the District of Columbia and Okinawa with affiliates in other countries.

For more information, visit the official website at: http://www.YoungMarines.com.

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