The History Of Red Ribbon Week, Plus How You And Your Kids Can Get Involved

red ribbon week
Red ribbon week begins today

Red Ribbon Week began today, billed as the nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention program, dating back to 1988. It was inspired by Drug Enforcement Agency special agent Kiki Camarena, who was trying to crack a billion-dollar drug pipeline in Mexico before he was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by Mexican drug lords in 1985.

His supporters launched “Camarena Clubs” in California, where members pledged to live their lives drug free to honor his memory, and they started wearing red ribbons the last week of October to identify themselves.

A few years later, it caught on nationally. First Lady Nancy Regan, who herself was a big anti-drug supporter, became the week’s honorary chairperson in 1988, when the National Family Partnership official launched Red Ribbon Week.

How can you and your kids get involved in this important week? Here’s some ideas:

— Wear a red ribbon — I’m grabbing one off my daughter’s Raggedy Anne doll!

— Contact your PTO to ask about an essay or poster contest honoring the week

— Encourage your friends and family to participate

— Spread the word on Twitter and Facebook

— Find out about DEA-sponsored activities in your community

— Discuss the meaning of this week with your children perhaps the most important thing you can do for a drug-free tomorrow