About Red Ribbon Week

Raising Awareness of Drug Abuse through Red Ribbon Week

Enrique (Kiki) Camarena’s death created a worldwide rallying cry against drug abuse. Kidnapped, tortured, and brutally murdered by Mexican drug traffickers in 1985, Kiki’s death mobilized the public and raised awareness of drug use and prevention.

The meaning of his sacrifice continues to galvanize communities through Red Ribbon Week, which calls upon organizations, parents, and educators to reinforce the dangers of drug abuse with children.

“Red Ribbon Week honors Kiki Camarena, who more than 25 years ago made the ultimate sacrifice fighting drugs. The news of his death touched the nation, and today, millions of young people born well after Kiki’s death wear red ribbons and sign pledges to remain drug-free,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart.

The Importance of Participating in Red Ribbon Week

Red Ribbon Week presents a critical opportunity for parents, educators, and communities to fight the constant battle against drugs by talking with children about the real issues around drug use and abuse. “Each year, Red Ribbon Week reinvigorates the message that drug abuse remains with us, and that we must stay vigilant in the fight,” says Jack Lawn, the DEA Administrator at the time of Kiki’s death.

Agrees Administrator Leonhart, “DEA will continue to take drug traffickers out of our communities as part of a comprehensive drug control strategy that includes effective enforcement, prevention, and treatment. All those who put their lives on the line enforcing our nation’s drug laws pay tribute to the young Americans who stand with them by wearing a red ribbon during Red Ribbon Week.”

It’s important to remember that “parents, educators, and communities are the first line” of defense in the fight against drug abuse, says Mr. Lawn. “Law enforcement is a critical element in the fight against drug abuse, but the DEA alone cannot solve this problem.” We need your help and the help of your community to keep kids safe against drug abuse.

How to Get Your Community Involved in Red Ribbon Week

Red Ribbon Week offers a great opportunity for parents, teachers, educators, and community organizations to raise awareness of the problem. The DEA has created a series of materials to help your community participate in Red Ribbon Week, including: