This Year’s Campaign
Each year in October, Red Ribbon Week follows a new theme; this year’s is ”YOLO. Be Drug Free.”
The theme — focused on the “you only live once” motto — was created by a pair of sixth-graders at Claysburg Kimmel Elementary School in Claysburg, Pa. As an award for creating this year’s theme, the school is receiving national recognition and $500 in merchandise supporting Red Ribbon Week.
A True Advocate: Honoring Nancy Reagan
On March 6, 2016, America lost one of its biggest fighters in the war on drugs when Nancy Reagan passed away at the age of 94. She left behind a legacy of anti-drug campaigns and millions of Americans that benefited from the programs she headed.
In 1986, Reagan told the American people to “Just Say No” to drugs. This phrase become a pop culture axiom and the motto for D.A.R.E.
About Nancy Reagan
Born in New York City in 1921, Reagan was born to a salesman father and a radio actress mother. She landed her first acting gig in 1940, and less than a decade later met her future husband and the future president of the United States Ronald Reagan. The couple married in 1952.
Upon becoming the First Lady of the United States in 1981, it didn’t take Reagan long to begin her fight against drug use in America. She spent nearly her entire time as First Lady as head of many different drug awareness organizations. Her battle against drugs lasted long after her time in the White House.
Making a Difference
During an address to the nation on federal drug policy, Reagan said, “Few things in my life have frightened me as much as the drug epidemic among our children.” She proved this as a concern by heading numerous drug awareness campaigns including The Chemical People, Just Say No and The Parent Movement.
Her efforts were effective. Casual drug use was reduced by 50 percent during the time Reagan headed The Parent Movement, according to the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.
Just Say No
In the late 1980s, crack cocaine infiltrated the United States. Teachers felt defenseless in the epidemic because they had too few tools to fight against it.
Enter Nancy Reagan. She encouraged students across the country to “Just Say No.” This resulted in schools around the country forming “Just Say No” clubs, where students took pledges to avoid drug use. Reagan was even featured on popular television shows such as Diff’rent Strokes and Dynasty in order to get her message to the masses.