Communities and schools across the country recently celebrated Red Ribbon Week, a time set aside to take a stand against substance abuse. This celebration is full of opportunities for people to make a commitment to stay sober, as well as encourage others to do so also.
Red Ribbon Week is typically held during the last week of October. It is held in honor of a fallen DEA agent, Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who took a stand against drug abuse. Every year, we see public service announcements, local activities, and community celebrations dedicated to Red Ribbon Week.
Schools often use this week to educate students about the dangers of substance abuse. School activities can consist of things like dress up days, signing a personal drug-free pledge, or poster contests. Many of the activities are designed to help students learn to team up together to say no to drugs. The more that kids are educated about the dangers of drugs and equipped with the motivation to say no, the fewer kids will get involved with drugs. The message in schools is important, and students that work together will be stronger and more likely to succeed.
Communities also organize events for Red Ribbon Week. Some neighborhoods tie red ribbons on all their trees, or host speaking events, or sponsor prescription drug take-back programs. The focus is often on youth and ways to help our young people stay away from drugs, or helping parents teach their kids about the dangers of drugs. But drugs can affect a person of any age, and Red Ribbon Week helps us prevent drug abuse for adults and older people as well.
Drug abuse is becoming a devastating problem in some communities. Prescription drugs are so often abused that it is becoming an epidemic. We need more events like the ones held during Red Ribbon Week to help get us all back on the right track. Our new focus should be on living a healthy life without the aid of drugs, alcohol, or other substances. The positive message that is conveyed during Red Ribbon Week should not come up just once a year. We should always have such a drive and a passion for living a drug-free life, and not just when we are surrounded by red ribbons and celebrations. The problem of drug abuse occurs year-round, so let’s stay motivated this year. Let’s keep our commitment to stay sober, and let’s not be afraid to let others know we are taking a stand.
For those that want to organize a Red Ribbon event in their community next year, there are many resources online. Anyone can organize an event. Any way that we are willing to contribute will help more people say no to drugs.