Red Ribbon Week

Red Ribbon Week 2019

There was a big push for drug addiction and abuse awareness, crack-cocaine came on the scene and shook up America, heroin was also a growing concern. In 1988, to combat the drug epidemic the National Family Partnership created what we know today as “Red Ribbon Week” it was a movement to go into schools and throughout communities encouraging safe, healthy, and substance free living.

It is always the last week of October, and this year runs from Oct. 23 – Oct. 31. It typically is a festive “Red Ribbon Week” in the public schooling systems that plays off of Halloween fun with themed days for the kids, but it is so much deeper than that. Hitting today’s youth with drug awareness and facts prepares the next generation to stay away from the things that are destroying possibly their own families right now.

So many children are able to learn and tell their parents, siblings and friends the dangers that come with drinking and abusing illegal drugs. Each year there is a new message as a theme for the week, this year’s is, “Send a message, stay drug free.”

How Did Red Ribbon Week Get Started?

The actual initiation of Red Ribbon Week has a sad story behind it, way back in 1985 there was an officer for the DEA, Enrique Camarena, who was going to meet his wife for lunch, but never made it. Instead he was kidnapped by several drug traffickers and his body was not found until a month later. He was murdered in cold blood after being tortured.

The response to his death by friends and family members was wearing red satin badges, and the meaning behind these badges was that one person can make a difference. His family also began creating anti-drug coalitions in the honor of their son. The red ribbons became a symbol of this movement to end the drug epidemic of the late 1908s.

This Year Marks 31 Years of Red Ribbon Week

It didn’t take long for this movement to catch on, in 1988 it was recognized by the National Family Partnership by President Reagan for the first Red Ribbon installment. Every single year since that point, the campaign has grown more prevalent across our nation. Celebrated in many school educational systems across our nation.

Red Ribbon Week represents those who desire to live a life free of drugs and alcohol. For all of those in support of Red Ribbon Week, they are standing up as role models of those who choose to live free of mind altering substances. The motto comes from the late Enrique “Kiki” Camarena himself, “I’m only one person, but I want to make a difference.”

What Can You Do?

Be a part of the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the USA by celebrating Red Ribbon Week. It is all about starting the conversation about drug and alcohol abuse and how it is so devastating. Tell others how you’re taking a stand not only in your personal life but making others aware of the devastation that addiction brings.
Talk to your family and friends about addiction, the dangers, and the great things that come from living life clean and sober!

Share your story on social media sites! The more people that know about this great cause the better!

Help Others! We are all about recovering addicts helping others on the same mission, so give your time today to someone who is struggling- be their strength.

Encourage everyone to participate in healthy activities like physical and social fun without the use of dangerous drugs and alcohol. Sports are still cool, right?

There are also a number of Red Ribbon Events to attend. To find an event near you, visit the Red Ribbon website.
Most of all: Don’t Drink or Drug! Be the difference you want to see in this world.

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.