Each year, on October 23-31, individuals, schools, and communities across the United States show their commitment to a healthy, drug-free lifestyle by wearing or displaying the red ribbon. Red Ribbon Week raises awareness of drug use and the problems related to drugs faced by individuals, families, and communities. This annual health observance encourages parents, educators, business owners, and other community organizations to promote drug-free lifestyles.
Red Ribbon Week started more than three decades ago, following the death of Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration who was killed by drug traffickers. Shortly after Special Agent Camarena’s death, citizens from his hometown of Calexico, California, began wearing red ribbons to remember him and commemorate his sacrifice.
The first official Red Ribbon Week celebration was created by the National Family Partnership in 1988. NFP continues to coordinate the campaign for families, schools, and communities across the nation each year. Since then, the red ribbon has symbolized a continuing commitment to reducing the demand for illicit drugs in our nation’s communities.
Red Ribbon Week offers a great opportunity for parents, teachers, educators, and community organizations to raise awareness of the problem of drug misuse. DEA has created materials to help your school and community participate in Red Ribbon Week. The online toolkit includes a variety of helpful resources, including downloadable graphics, a fact card and student and parent pledges, and ways to promote Red Ribbon Week in your school or community.
For more information, go to www.dea.gov/redribbon.