What is Red Ribbon Week?

Red Ribbon Week is October 23-31, a time to get involved in the fight against drugs and bullying. This week-long campaign is celebrated in schools nationwide and provides an opportunity for parents, students, and concerned individuals to take a stand against the violence and drug dependency that can wreak havoc on communities and futures alike.

The History of the Red Ribbon Campaign

Red Ribbon Week began with the nonprofit organization National Family Partnership (NFP) as a result of the tragic murder of an undercover narcotics officer.

  • In 1985, DEA agent Enrique Camarena was tortured to death by the drug traffickers he was investigating in Mexico.
  • Angered by this loss, parents and youth began wearing red ribbons to represent their commitment to creating safer communities free from violence and drugs.
  • Individuals began forming coalitions, adopting the red ribbon as a symbol for drug and violence awareness and Camarena as the catalyst for change.
  • In 1988, NFP sponsored the first official National Red Ribbon Celebration.

For more than thirty years since its institution, Red Ribbon Week has helped spread drug and violence awareness to millions of people via educational tools and promotional items. The celebration is observed primarily in schools, where its message passes to those who need it most: the youths that will shape our future.

Why Is Anti-Bullying, Anti-Drug Education Important?

Bullying and substance abuse are two of the biggest problems facing school-aged children today and can be detrimental to both academic success and emotional development.

  • Most bullying happens at school, which is where Red Ribbon Week efforts are focused. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 1 in 4 U.S. students say they have been bullied at school – and more than 70% of children say they’ve seen bullying at school.
  • Education is a defense against peer pressure. Most teens have experienced peer pressure in their lives, and it’s often the reason they’ll bully or try drugs for the first time. With proper guidance, teens can make healthy choices rather than falling in line.
  • Portrayals of substance abuse on social media can be misleading. One study by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASAColumbia) indicated that after seeing their peers “partying” on social media, 75% of teens between ages 12 and 17 were more likely to follow suit. Teens need knowledge to combat this dangerous message that drug and alcohol use amongst youth is acceptable.
  • It starts a dialogue. For many younger children in schools, Red Ribbon Week is their first chance to learn about the dangers of substance abuse and the harm that bullying can do.

How Effective is Red Ribbon Week?

Red Ribbon Week is the nation’s largest and oldest drug prevention awareness program. While it’s difficult to measure the exact effectiveness of such awareness celebrations, Red Ribbon Week’s contribution is evident in its continuing support from society.

  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s 2018 “Monitoring the Future” (MTP) survey found that the past-year use of illicit drugs (excluding marijuana) among 8th, 10th and 12th graders is maintaining the lowest levels in more than twenty years.
  • MTP also found that alcohol consumption, binge drinking, and traditional cigarette use are in a significant decline compared to years past.

How to Get Involved in Red Ribbon Week

The theme for 2019’s Red Ribbon Week is: Send a Message. Stay Drug Free.™ Its creator, Izabella Ware, is a student from Griswold Middle School in Griswold, Connecticut – and for her contribution, Izabella’s school will receive $500 in Red Ribbon Theme merchandise from Nimco, Inc.!

  • Download the 2019 Red Ribbon Planning Guide. This fun booklet includes helpful information about this year’s campaign message and inspiring ideas for celebrating within your community.
  • Enter the National Red Ribbon Photo Contest. The winner gets an iPad and $1,000 for their K-12 school! With two entry categories (Home Decorations and School Decorations), anyone can share their Red Ribbon spirit. The competition is open until November 1st, 2019. Enter here!
  • Sign the pledge. Help create a drug-free America by pledging to live a drug-free life. Both Youth Pledges and Parent Pledges are available here.
  • Submit your Red Ribbon event (and search for others). Check out RedRibbon.org’s event roster. If you’re planning an event, list it so others can support you. If you want to attend an event, discover what’s happening in your area.
  • Prepare for next year! Submit your ideas for the 2020 Red Ribbon Week Theme Contest. Entries must be sent by December 2, 2019. Find more information here.

About Cliffside Malibu

Red Ribbon Week is an event worth supporting, with a cause worth understanding. Of course, if you or someone you love is battling addiction, you’re already aware of how much harm it can do. While prevention and awareness are some of the best antidotes for addiction before it begins, some people need more help once it’s gone too far.

Since no two addictions are the same, Cliffside Malibu offers an individualized treatment plan for each and every client. We are committed to providing the best care possible through.a continuum of care including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment, and outpatient services. Our program includes not only evidence-based treatment, but family therapy and holistic therapy, as well. Whether an individual is suffering from substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction, our programs are designed and structured to be a supportive environment in order to maintain sobriety.

In addition to world-class treatment, Cliffside Malibu offers luxury accommodations, a serene environment, five-star dining, and plentiful amenities. We understand that addiction treatment is a rigorous process. Therefore, we provide for your comfort and relaxation at every turn, allowing you to rejuvenate, to meet the demands of treatment with your greatest energy and attention.

For more information on Cliffside Malibu, visit cliffsidemalibu.com