Red Ribbon Week

Say NO To Drugs

Today, schools and communities throughout the nation create activities and sponsor media campaigns during Red Ribbon Week to increase the public’s awareness about the problems caused by substance abuse and promote research-based prevention strategies and programs throughout the year.

The Red Ribbon Week Celebration is held annually during the month of October.  Some schools use the entire month for the celebration and others use only the last week of October.  The Red Ribbon Campaign began in California in 1986 to commemorate the death of a federal agent, Enrique Camarena, who was slain by drug traffickers in Mexico.  The campaign went nation wide in 1987, and the name was changed to Red Ribbon Week Celebration in 1989.  The purpose of Red Ribbon Week Celebration is to present a unified, positive, and visible commitment toward a safe and drug-free America.  PTAs are encouraged to plan prevention activities and programs in schools and communities to support a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.  PTA has been active in Red Ribbon Week Celebration since its inception.  Remember to follow all PTA procedures and guidelines, should the PTA unit choose to participate in any activity of distribute promoted material, in all cases, the PTA’s procedures and guidelines take precedence over those of other agencies.  If there are any questions or concerns about planned Red Ribbon Week Celebration activities, please contact the council and/or district PTA.

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 (www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/at)

Community Alliances for Drug Free Youth (CADFY) (www.CADFY.org)

California Friday Night Live Partnership (www.fridaynightlive.org)

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) (www.dea.gov and www.justthinktwice.com)

Partnership for a Drug-Free California (www.drugfree.org)

Sundt Memorial Foundation (www. sundtmemorial.org)

The Enrique S. Camarena Educational Foundation (www.CamarenaFoundation.org)

Time to Talk – Partnership for a drug free America website directed at parents (www.timetotalk.org)


“Today, schools and communities throughout the nation create activities and sponsor media campaigns during Red Ribbon Week to increase the public’s awareness about the problems caused by substance abuse and promote research-based prevention strategies and programs throughout the year.”

~ Community Alliances for Drug Free Youth (CADFY), www.cadfy.org