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The Student News Site of Segerstrom High School

A brief history of Red Ribbon Week

This+years+theme+for+Red+Ribbon+Week+is+Be+Kind+to+Your+Mind.
Image courtesy of The National Family Partnership
This year’s theme for Red Ribbon Week is “Be Kind to Your Mind.”

Across the United States, Red Ribbon Week is recognized for its promotion against drugs. Every year, it begins on October 23rd and ends on October 31st. Yet most students don’t know the reason for Red Ribbon Week. Its history goes back decades and began with the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

In 1985, while investigating drug trafficking in Mexico, DEA agent Enrique Camarena was murdered. The momentum after his death started in his hometown,  Calexico, California. As an alumnus of Calexico High School, the school had worn red ribbons in solidarity. Eventually, parents across several states began a movement to pledge drug-free lives to honor agents like Enrique Camarena.

With the support exponentially growing, the National Federation of Parents for Drug-Free Youth (NFP) got involved.  The NFP is a non-profit organization now known as the National Family Partnership. They first sponsored Red Ribbon Week in 1988 and have continued to combat substance abuse.

Today, many communities encourage Red Ribbon Week and persistently promote drug prevention. This can be seen in schools as they aim to educate the dangers of abusing substances. Even in our school district, it is prevalent. In 2021, the Orange County Board of Education has taken the initiative to ensure the success of Red Ribbon Week.

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“It is imperative that schools and communities launch unified and visible prevention education programs and activities to limit the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs by youth,” Stated the Orange County Board of Education’s resolution, Resolution #15-21. “The California State Board of Education encourages the commitment of time and resources to ensure the success of Red Ribbon Week campaign and year-round prevention education efforts.”

Besides the Board of Education’s response, there are even efforts to spread awareness by our Associated Student Body. Both have been exceptional in displaying the message of Red Ribbon Week. But it is additionally vital to learn the story of Enrique Camarena whose legacy and memory lives on through Red Ribbon Week.

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Joshua Vu, News Editor

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  • J

    Jonathan SandovalDec 21, 2023 at 9:04 am

    Thank you for sharing this story as it helps others understand what red ribbon week is for.

    Reply
  • A

    Anna SernasDec 21, 2023 at 9:02 am

    It’s thoughtful for this week to be celebrated for many decades and to keep spreading this message.

    Reply
  • N

    Nicole SaldanaDec 21, 2023 at 9:01 am

    This was very interesting! I liked how you explained what the US Drug Enforcement Agency is.

    Reply