Red Ribbon Week is About Helping Children Stay Drug Free
Red Ribbon Week started as a campaign to help preserve the memory of Special Agent Camarena who lost his life battling drug traffickers. Today, it is the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the country and during the last week of October, schools and other organizations across the country will be encouraging activities and events to promote awareness and education about illegal drugs and encouraging a commitment to a drug-free life.
Wear Red Ribbons This Week To Promote a Drug Free Life
Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who served in the Marines and became a police officer, joined the US Drug Enforcement Administration in an effort to “make a difference”. In February 1985, Camarena was sent to Mexico to work undercover investigating a major drug cartel, but he was tortured to death one month later.
Within weeks of his death, Congressman Duncan Hunter and high school friend Henry Lozano launched “Camarena Clubs” in California to promote red ribbons as a sign of their pledge to live drug free to honor the sacrifice made by Camarena and others who daily fight against drug trafficking. In 1988, the National Family Partnership coordinated the first national Red Ribbon Week with President Ronald Reagan and wife Nancy serving as honorary chairpersons.
The theme of the 2010 Red Ribbon Week celebration is “Let Your Light Shine: Live Alcohol, Tobacco, and Illegal Drug Free.”
According to information presented by the Red Ribbon Coalition, promoting caring relationships, high expectations, and meaningful participation are effective prevention strategies in the fight against illegal substance use and abuse. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program encourages parents to be involved in the fight to keep kids drug free and offer the following tips:
1. Be your kids' greatest fan. Compliment them on all of their efforts, the strength of their character and their individuality.
2. Get your kids involved in adult-supervised after-school activities as it makes kids much less likely to use drugs.
3. Help your kids develop tools they can use to get out of alcohol or drug related situations.
4. Get to know your children's friends and their parents. Call them and check to make sure they share in your views on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
5. Call kids' parents if their home is to be used for a party. Make sure that the party will be alcohol-free and supervised by adults.
6. Set curfews and enforce them. Let kids know the consequences of breaking curfew.
7. Encourage open dialogue with your children about their experiences. Make sure your children understand that they can ask you anything and that you will give them an honest answer.
8. Set a no-use rule for alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
9. Sit down for dinner with your children at least once a week. Use the time to talk-don't eat in front of the TV.
10. Get-and stay-involved in your children's lives.
Even if your child’s school isn’t actively celebrating Red Ribbon Week this week, encourage him to take the following pledge, created by the City of Irvine Community Services:
"I pledge to make healthy choices, to be a positive role model for my friends, and to support the mission of Ribbon Week “No Use of Illegal Drugs, No Illegal Use of Legal Drugs."