Red Ribbon Week History

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Red Ribbon Week History

Since 1985, the Red Ribbon has been a symbol of commitment to raise awareness of the death and destruction drugs cause in America.

Celebrated each year October 23-31, the Red Ribbon campaign serves as a way to educate American youth in drug prevention activities. The campaign was organized by The National Family Partnership (NFP.)

The origins of the Red Ribbon are not without tragedy. In 1985, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agent Kiki Camarena was close to unlocking a multibillion-dollar marijuana and cocaine pipeline in Mexico. Camarena was kidnapped and murdered by the very drug traffickers he was so close to shutting down.

This event had such great impact that Americans began to wear red ribbons in honor of the fallen DEA agent and the stand against drugs and the violence they cause.

Red Ribbon Week Achievements

The NFP estimates that more than 80 million people have participated in Red Ribbon events. It is a way for communities to take a unified stand against drugs and violence.

In 1988, the first National Red Ribbon Week occurred with President and Mrs. Reagan serving as honorary chairpersons.

How You Can Get Involved

There are numerous ways you can become involved in Red Ribbon Week. Here are a few examples from the DEA on how to excite and engage your community:

  • Display red ribbons inside and outside local businesses;
  • Invite your local officials to participate in activities that promote Red Ribbon Week;
  • Post fact sheets about the dangers of drugs in highly visible places such as churches, gyms or grocery stores; and
  • Organize a fair that promotes drug awareness.

No matter how you choose to become involved in Red Ribbon Week, your effort can make a big difference in educating youth on the dangers of drug abuse.

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