Red Ribbon Week


The Red Ribbon Campaign is the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation, reaching millions of young people during Red Ribbon Week. Red Ribbon Week is an awareness campaign observed annually the last full week in October. We regard Red Ribbon Week as the kick off to a year of prevention in our schools and in our communities. Have your child dress to support Red Ribbon Week campaign against drugs;

California State PTA

ribbonRevised October 2010 – Community Concerns

In 1985 Enrique Kiki Camarena was kidnapped, brutally tortured, and murdered by Mexican drug traffickers. His tragic death opened the eyes of many Americans to the dangers of drugs and the international scope of the drug trade.

Shortly after Kiki’s death, Congressman Duncan Hunter and Kiki’s high school friend Henry Lozano launched “Camarena Clubs” in Kiki’s hometown of Calexico, Calif. Hundreds of club members pledged to lead drug-free lives to honor the memory of Kiki Camarena. These pledges were delivered to first lady Nancy Reagan at a national conference of parents combating youth drug use. Several state parent organizations then called on community groups to wear red ribbons during the last week of October as a symbol of their drug-free commitment. In 1988, the National Family Partnership (NFP) coordinated the first National Red Ribbon Week with President and Mrs. Reagan serving as honorary chairpersons.

How to Celebrate Red Ribbon Week:

  • The NFP estimates that more than 80 million people participate in Red Ribbon events each year.
  • The campaign is a unified way for communities to take a stand against drugs, and to show intolerance for illicit drug use and the consequences to all Americans.
  • Schools, businesses, the faith community, media, families, and community coalitions join together to celebrate Red Ribbon Week in many ways, such as: sponsoring essay and poster contests; organizing drug-free races; decorating buildings in red; handing out red ribbons to customers; holding parades or community events; and by publicizing the value of a drug-free, healthy lifestyle.

Additional Resources

  • California Department of Education (
  • Community Alliances for Drug Free Youth (CADFY) (
  • California Friday Night Live Partnership (
  • U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ( and
  • Partnership for a Drug-Free California (
  • Sundt Memorial Foundation (www.
  • The Enrique S. Camarena Educational Foundation (
  • Time to Talk (Partnership for a drug free America website directed at parents) (

The 2020 Theme

Be Happy. Be Brave. Be Drug Free. TM This year’s Red Ribbon Week theme will help amplify the campaign’s mission to encourage children, families and communities to live healthy, happy and drug-free lives. It also serves as a reminder that we are all empowered with shaping the communities around us through positivity, bravery and strength.