Red Ribbon Week is the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the country. In 1988, the National Family Partnership sponsored the first National Red Ribbon Celebration. After the murder of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent Enrique Camarena, angry parents and youth across the nation began wearing red ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the killing and destruction cause by drugs in America. This year’s theme is “Drug Free Looks Like Me.”

When is Red Ribbon Week?

Each year, the last full week of October, our nation celebrates Red Ribbon Week, a national, voluntary effort to increase awareness of the consequences of illegal drug use and the need for prevention efforts.

Where is Red Ribbon Week observed? 

Every Marine Corps installation is encouraged to observe Red Ribbon Week.

Why observe Red Ribbon Week? 

Today, Red Ribbon Week helps preserve DEA Special Agent Camarena’s memory and further the cause he gave his life for—reducing the demand for drugs. Red Ribbon Week also serves as a catalyst to mobilize communities to educate youth and encourage annual drug prevention activities. The campaign has reached millions of people and is a symbol of support for the DEA’s efforts to reduce demand for drugs through prevention and education programs. 

How can you observe Red Ribbon Week?

By wearing a red ribbon during the last week of October, Americans demonstrate their ardent opposition to drugs. They pay homage not only to Special Agent Camarena, but to all men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in support of our nation’s struggle against drug trafficking and abuse.

For more information on Red Ribbon Week activities, contact your local Substance Abuse Counseling Center (SACC).