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Red Ribbon Week

What Is Red Ribbon Week?

Red Ribbon week is the nation's biggest and longest-running drug-use prevention campaign. The campaign brings communities together to stand against all drugs. It is celebrated annually from October 23rd to October 31st. The Red Ribbon Campaign was started when Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, was murdered by drug traffickers he was investigating in Mexico City. People sought to pay tribute to his sacrifice. This started the ongoing tradition of wearing red ribbons as a sign of disapproval of drug use.

What you can do to celebrate Red Ribbon Week

Talking to kids about the dangers of drug use is something that parents, guardians, and other adults should do. You can set an excellent example for children by choosing to be drug-free. You can also make a difference by setting clear rules for kids against drug use and definite consequences. Also, encourage kids to ask questions and communicate with you about drugs so, you can give them the facts.

What communities can do for Red Ribbon Week

  • Community members and officials can come together to take part in Red Ribbon week programs.

  • Sponsor a community-wide special event to prevent drug misuse.

  • Spread informational materials throughout the community.

  • Get involved with youth groups in the community.

  • Display the Red Ribbon messages.

  • Distribute Red Ribbons.

  • Identify and share local prevention, intervention, and treatment resources with community members.

 Take the National Red Ribbon Campaign Pledge 


Red Ribbon Week Activities Linked To

Evidence-Based Principles for Substance Abuse Prevention

- Approaches that have been shown to be effective*:

  •  Strengthen anti-drug-use attitudes and norms.

  • Reduce risk and enhance protection in families.

  • Strengthen social bonding.

  • Reduce the availability of illicit drugs, and of alcohol and tobacco for the under-aged.

  •  Strengthen life skills and drug refusal techniques.

- Intervene early at important stages and transitions.

-  Reinforce interventions over time.

- Intervene in settings and domains that most affect risk and protection for substance abuse, including homes, social
services, schools, peer groups, workplaces, recreational settings, religious and spiritual settings, and communities.

Content on this page was provided by National Family Partnership National Red Ribbon Campaign.

*Source: Office of National Drug Control Policy, Evidence-based principles for substance abuse prevention 2001

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