Understanding Red Ribbon Week: Facts You Should Know
Red Ribbon Week is an important event that takes place every year in schools, communities and neighborhoods across the globe. But do you know the whole picture? Learning important Red Ribbon Week facts can help you better understand why we celebrate this impactful drug-free week.
Red Ribbon Week is about more than teaching children the dangers of drugs. It’s about coming together. Learn more about how you can join the campaign and hold your own drug-free week to spread Red Ribbon awareness with NIMCO, Inc. today. Read our complete list of facts about Red Ribbon Week below.
What Is Red Ribbon Week For?
Red Ribbon Week is a drug prevention and awareness campaign that occurs annually in the United States. It’s estimated that nearly 80 million people participate in Red Ribbon Week each year, sporting Red Ribbon Week products and merchandise to show their support for the cause. But while Red Ribbon awareness remains high, many supporters don’t know the tragic backstory of how it began.
On February 7th, 1985, Enrique “Kiki” Camarena was kidnapped, brutally tortured and murdered by the Mexican drug traffickers he was investigating. His tragic death opened the eyes of Americans across the country to the dangers of drugs and the scope of the international drug trade. Thus, Red Ribbon Week emerged as a reminder to communities everywhere of the dangers of drugs. The campaign has become an incredible way to keep the memory of Kiki Camarena alive – a true hero in the war against drugs.
Why Do We Celebrate Red Ribbon Week?
Individuals and groups participate in various Red Ribbon Week activities and events to raise awareness about the dangers of drug abuse and to promote drug-free lifestyles. These activities may include wearing red ribbons, organizing educational programs and events, participating in community service projects, and more.
Celebrating drug-free Red Ribbon Week and raising awareness through promotional products is an ideal way for schools, neighborhoods and communities to unite together and take a visible stand against drugs. Red Ribbon awareness is meant to demonstrate the importance of making healthy choices and smart decisions throughout life – showing children and teens everywhere that they can achieve their goals by remaining drug-free.
What Year Was Red Ribbon Week Established?
The first localized events were celebrated in LaMiranda and Norwalk, California, in 1985. As a tribute to Camarena during these initial local celebrations, high school friend Henry Lozana and acting congressman Duncan Hunter created “Camarena Clubs” and started wearing red ribbons to show their opposition to drugs. In 1988, the National Family Partnership (NFP) coordinated the first National Red Ribbon Week, with then-President and First Lady Reagan serving as honorary chairpersons for the event.
When Is Red Ribbon Week This Year?
Drug-free Red Ribbon Week is celebrated each year October 23rd through 31st and is recognized by schools, communities, and organizations across the country. While Red Ribbon Month is celebrated in some communities, it is typically observed during the last week of October which holds the title of the official Red Ribbon Week.
How Is the Yearly Red Ribbon Week Theme Created?
Do you know how we get our themes for Red Ribbon Week? Every year, thousands of children and teens around the nation submit their ideas in the official Red Ribbon Week Theme Contest for a chance to become contributing members of drug-free week and win some fantastic prizes! Themes for Red Ribbon Week must be submitted by December 4th. In 2022, Emily King, Chelsea Abbott and Celise Wicker, 7th graders at Wayland-Cohocton Middle School in Wayland, New York, created the inspirational theme: Celebrate Life. Live Drug Free.™
The new theme is incorporated into our promotional items every year to help spread Red Ribbon awareness. Check out our 2022 Red Ribbon Week promotionals to see what we were able to do with last year’s theme.
What Is the Red Ribbon Week Photo Contest?
Every year, the Red Ribbon Organization holds a photo contest to raise visibility in schools and communities around the nation. It’s another effort in our fight to help children live drug-free and express their creativity.
The contest, co-sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Agency and National Family Partnership, involves students, school faculty members and families decorating their homes and campuses with the year’s Red Ribbon Week theme for a chance to win some fabulous prizes. Check out the 2022 photo contest winners for some inspiration!
Bring Red Ribbon Week to Your Community With NIMCO
Established in 1987, NIMCO, Inc. has been the official Red Ribbon Week merchandise supplier from the beginning. We make planning your drug-free week easy with drug-free promotional items, merchandise and activities that will fit even the tightest budgets. With stylish anti-drug shirts, helpful and educational Red Ribbon Week posters and much more, you’re sure to find what you need to make an impact. Our marketing department will assist you every step of the way as you plan your very own Red Ribbon Week campaign; we even have Earth-friendly campaigns to help celebrate the event.
Celebrate Red Ribbon Week with This Year’s Theme
At NIMCO, Red Ribbon Week is one of the important times of our year – we are committed to bringing Red Ribbon awareness to as many communities as possible. We take great pride in introducing the National Red Ribbon Week theme each year at CADCA in Washington DC. As an official vendor of Red Ribbon Week promotionals, we have all your needs for an educational and fun-filled Red Ribbon Week every year!
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Here are a few ideas on how you can celebrate Red Ribbon Week in your community:
• Wear red ribbons and distribute them to staff and employees.
• Issue a proclamation declaring the last week of October “Red Ribbon Week” in
• Promote Red Ribbon Week in speeches and newsletters.
• Display red ribbons on the interior and exterior surfaces of city and county buildings.
• Appoint a representative to be on the community Red Ribbon planning committee.
• Encourage police and fire departments to participate in Red Ribbon Week activities.
• Contact the press to show your community support for Red Ribbon Week.
• Include a Red Ribbon message in employee pay checks, in water bills, etc.
• Wear red ribbons and distribute them to staff and officers.
• Display red ribbons on the interior and exterior surfaces of the building.
• Display red ribbons in a prominent place on all vehicles.
• Help plan and participate in Red Ribbon Week activities.
• Offer to speak at community programs on alcohol and drug issues.
• Organize a special alcohol and drug seminar for the community.
• Wear red ribbons and distribute them to your employees, customers, schools, etc.
• Display red ribbons and posters on the interior and exterior surfaces of your building.
• Place a Red Ribbon message in your advertisements, newsletters, and monthly statements.
• Sponsor a Red Ribbon Week activity (i.e., fun run, bike-a-thon, community breakfast, etc.).
• Promote Red Ribbon Week on signs and marquees.
• Advertise Red Ribbon special discounts or sales for customers wearing a red ribbon.
• Initiate drug education programs for employees.
•Wear red ribbons and distribute them to your employees, including TV anchor persons, news reporters, etc.
•Display red ribbons and posters on the interior and exterior surfaces of your building.
•Inform the community about Red Ribbon Week, encouraging them to participate.
•Produce and air Red Ribbon public service announcements.
•Invite Red Ribbon community leaders to appear on talk shows.
•Assign reporters to cover Red Ribbon activities.
•Feature drug education information during Red Ribbon Week.
•Publish a special Red Ribbon insert in newspapers with articles and ads to distribute during Red Ribbon Week.
•Initiate drug education programs for employees.
•Display a basket of red ribbons in the waiting room or lobby for patients and family members.
•Display red ribbons and posters on the interior and exterior surfaces of buildings.
•Create a display on alcohol and drug abuse prevention information.
•Adopt a school and donate ribbons for Red Ribbon Week.
•Give red balloons to children with a message to reject drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.
•Distribute and wear red ribbons at religious services.
•Give a drug-free message in a sermon.
•Include a special Red Ribbon insert in bulletins.
•Sponsor in-service educational programs for priests, ministers, rabbis, teachers, secretaries, volunteers, and the congregation.
•Address alcohol and drug problems during youth and adult meetings.
•Hold prayer vigils for those affected by the use of drugs.
•Invite youth to wear and distribute red ribbons during religious services.
•Plan essay contests, poster contests, and journalism competitions.
•Wear red ribbons and distribute them to students and staff.
•Organize drug education programs and integrate alcohol and drug information into all curricula during Red Ribbon Week.
•Observe Red Ribbon Week activities.
•Provide drug education in-service for teachers and staff.
•Invite parents and families to a special health fair or drug education program.
•Decorate your school.
•Wear red ribbons.
•Talk to your kids about the dangerous effects of alcohol, drug, and tobacco use.
•Participate in planning and implementing Red Ribbon community activities.
•Volunteer to cut and distribute red ribbons.
•Schedule a community meeting focusing on drug education.
•Participate in Family Day—September 28, 2009.
During National Plant the Promise Week on October 23-31, schools, businesses, parents, and youths across America will plant bulbs that will bloom into vibrant red, white, and blue tulips and will serve as a constant reminder for staying drug free. Most bulbs that are planted during National Plant the Promise Week will bloom during April, which is National Alcohol Awareness Month. Order your Red Ribbon Week bulbs today by logging onto www.nimcoinc.com.
Additional Red Ribbon Week Resources
If you’d like to learn more about how you can bring Red Ribbon Week to your school or community, you can visit Informed Families or the National Family Partnership for more information.
Here are a few sources that provide more information about Red Ribbon Week:
- “Red Ribbon Week.” National Family Partnership, www.nfp.org/red-ribbon-week/.
- “Red Ribbon Week History.” Red Ribbon Week, redribbon.org/about/history/.
- Camarena, Enrique S. “Enrique Camarena: DEA Special Agent.” DEA Museum & Visitors Center, https://museum.dea.gov/exhibits/online-exhibits/red-ribbon-week
- “Red Ribbon Week: A Brief History.” DrugFree.org, drugfree.org/red-ribbon-week-a-brief-history/.
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