MCAGCC, Twentynine Palms, Calif. -- Marine Corps Community Services Drug Demand Reduction held a drug-prevention rally aboard the Combat Center last Friday.
The rally, held at Victory Field, featured a climbing wall, inflatable jousting ring and obstacle course, a bungee trampoline, and a unit tug-of-war tournament sponsored by the Single Marine Program. D.J. Constance, also known as Master Sgt. Byron Constance, provided musical entertainment throughout the day.
The rally was one of the many events held this past week, May 31 through June 7, as a part of the Combat Center?s Drug Prevention Week. Other drug-awareness events included a drug prevention stand-down at the base theater and drug influence recognition training for the substance abuse prevention officers of each unit. According to Luana Lynch, drug demand reduction coordinator, the purpose of the rally was to bring attention to the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse while providing fun activities for all participants.
"Our goal is to reduce the drug use on base by letting people know there?s other stuff to do," said Lynch. "You can have a great time without using drugs or abusing alcohol."
Lynch added that avoiding drugs is especially important for Marines because of their need to remain physically and mentally healthy at all times.
"So many Marines learned all they know about drugs from their peers in middle school or high school, and all the information is erroneous," said Lynch. "They have to realize how much it hurts their bodies and destroys their minds."
Throughout the day, organizations on base and in the local community provided information booths and demonstrations to educate attendees about the physical, mental, emotional and legal consequences of drug use. They day began with a drug dog demonstration from the provost marshal?s canine section.
"We?re here to show our support and to let people know what our dogs can do," said Cpl. Anthony Mendoza, assistant kennel master, PMO. "Each dog is certified in patrol, narcotics, and explosives. They?re fully capable of catching bad guys."
Information booths were provided by the San Bernardino chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Panorama Ranch, the San Diego county Sheriff?s Department, and on-base organizations like drug demand reduction. Each table offered brochures, pamphlets and posters with important information about drug use in the Morongo Basin. According to California Highway Patrol officer and Marine Reserve Master Gunnery Sgt. Elaine Bernal, methamphetamine is the most abused and manufactured drug of the surrounding desert areas.
"People use the nastiest stuff to manufacture these kind of drugs? pool cleaner, paint thinner, iodine, drain cleaner," said Bernal. "Who would want to put that in their body? It?s crazy."
She added that the drug commonly called "meth" can have dangerous effects on the body and is highly addictive.