Red Ribbon Week is October 23-31, 2011 in the United States, which is a drug awareness campaign observed annually. It is a time to promote healthier living and a drug-free world for kids and adults. During this week, parents, students, teachers, and others are aksed to join together and address the alcohol, tobacco and drug issues concerning our community and the world.
There are many Richmond area schools celebrating Red Ribbon Week in various ways. One Virginia Elementary School is receiving thousands of free ribbons and pencils. Woodley Hills Elementary School in Alexandria, VA was chosen from over 2,000 customers of NY-based Red Ribbon Resources and they shipped 1,500 red ribbons and 1,000 pencils with anti-drug slogans to the students.
The Salvation Army in Richmond is also celebrating Red Ribbon Week, along with other local organizations and schools.
Red Ribbon Week was initiated after the brutal murder of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in 1985. After working on a multi-million dollar narcotics operation in Mexico and eradicating the drug production operations, he and others in the DEA were killed. His Calexico, California hometown turned their grief into an organization to prevent drug abuse, and they chose red ribbons to represent their cause.
The Red Ribbon Celebration Pledge is simple and it’s meant to be a commitment for life.
“No Use of Illegal Drugs, No Illegal Use of Legal Drugs”
It is a no-nonsense and consistent promise for everyone to stay away from drugs which can alter our minds, bodies and the way we live. The pledge was developed by the City of Irvine Community Services in California. It focuses on 100% avoidance of illegal drugs and only proper use of legal drugs as prescribed or recommended by a qualified healthcare official.
Why is this so important?
The pledge is important for many reasons, including:
- Our society uses medications to assist with both physical and mental health related illnesses. Although they are sometimes necessary, they are often abused.
- Medicines prescribed by a physician and over the counter (OTC) remedies such as aspirin, cough syrup, antibiotics, pain killers and other legal drugs are used to treat common, everyday illnesses. But they are also abused by many.
- There are students and teachers at your school who are not “drug free” and they need help.
- Caffeine is so commonly used, it seems adults may have forgotten that it is a drug.
- Alcohol has become so socially acceptable, that people forget it is a drug with astronomically negative and devastating effects.
- Prescription and OTC drugs are advertised more than ever in the media. Young people cannot turn on the television without being inundated with these messages which negatively influence behavior patterns and they need coping skills to help them choose positive resources to manage issues.
There are many reasons children turn to drugs. Knowing how to help children deal with stress, life changes, new schools, puberty, peer pressure, life transitions, and other occurrences can make a huge difference in whether or not they experiment with drugs.
Visit the Red Ribbon Coalition website to access valuable information and resources to help you talk positively with your child or grandchild about these things.
Celebrate Red Ribbon Week and educate children on the importance of avoiding drugs of any type. Honor DEA Agent Camarena’s life by taking this important step in the life of a child.