STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (WTRF) — Overcoming drug and alcohol abuse isn’t just a personal statement of independence.

It can also mean a reintroduction to family, after months of separation and individual growth in a drug court program.

The joy of that reunion is why Jefferson County declared next week Red Ribbon Week at their Thursday Commission meeting.

It’s spearheaded by the Adult Drug Court Phoenix Program, whose walk this coming Saturday at Steubenville’s Jim Woods Park at 11 a.m. will celebrate the family fun that follows freedom from substances.

“It’s vital to start educating children on preventing drug and alcohol use from a young age. Our education department starts out teaching social emotional learning in elementary schools, we teach about proper mental health and then once they get a little bit older, we start talking about actual drug and alcohol prevention.”

Allison Boston, United Prevention Partnership Coalition coordinator

But the walk is just the beginning of the Red Ribbon Week journey.

This coming week you’ll see Phoenix program members in red at Jefferson County’s elementary and middle schools…making announcements about prevention and signing drug-free pledges with the kids.