In 1985, a man and his wife were having a peaceful day out together when they were met by five brutal individuals who pushed the man into their car.  After a month of worry and searching for the man, he was found horribly disfigured and dead in Mexico.  The man was DEA agent, Enrique (Kiki) Camerena, and the outrage over his death started the largest anti-drug awareness campaign in the country known as Red Ribbon Week.  Those outraged over Camerena’s death began to wear satin red ribbons and formed coalitions to warn others about the dangers of drugs.  Camerena was passionate about stopping the drug trade from Mexico and once told his mother, “I am only one person, but I want to make a difference”!

Enrique (Kiki) Camerena

In schools, we often promote drug awareness and wonder, “will my efforts make a difference”?  I have been coordinating Red Ribbon Week Campaigns for over 10 years and will continue to do so because I hope I can make a difference in preventing a young person from using drugs or alcohol. However, Red Ribbon Week has more of a personal appeal to me as I am the parent and sister of two family members who regularly used drugs.  I personally can tell you that drugs have had a negative impact on my family and caused a lot of pain. As Camerena was passionate about stopping the drug trade from Mexico, I desire for the trade of drugs to our children stop in our local communities.  Being the mom of a child who has used substances, I have seen the underside of the drug culture in my community.  I understand how drugs are passed from student to student in schools, the location of drug paths behind businesses and subdivisions in my community, the names of convenience stores that sell synthetic substances, the names of dealers in the community, and the inability of the administrators in our local schools to prevent sales. Now that I know this information, what do I about it?

Major Drug Trade Routes in the US

Synthetic Marijuana is a huge problem in our community!

Red Ribbon Activity Ideas

This year, I want to really make an impact on our high school students during Red Ribbon Week.  The “Just Say No” banners, wearing funny socks, or pithy sayings are not enough for me anymore.  I want to create a Red Ribbon Week that stands out to our student, parents, and faculty members.

Ideas for Educating Adults

First, I want to show the economic impact of drug sales on our country and communities.  Showing drug trade routes in the state, the cost of health care, the loss of work time hours, and the cost of incarceration can show our parents and faculty members that drugs is no small problem.  Often our adults think, “it is not a big deal in our community”. Here are some links that can be used to educate adults.

Links Between Terrorism and Drugs

Drug Use and Its Connection to Terrorism

High in Cars-Seniors Driving High Under the Influence of Marijuana
Emergency Room Visit Statistics
Think Marijuana is Harmless? Think Again!
Every Day Substance Abuse Use by Teens
Spice Linked to Psychosis, Brain and Kidney Damage
Drug Use Impacts Decision Making

Just Think Twice-website with information for  adults and students with drug facts, resources, videos, and information.

Second, I want to educate our faculty on how to be aware of what is going on around them when it comes to identifying drug use. Using our law enforcement is a great way to educate adults on what they need to look for in our schools.
Youth Drug Trends in High School

Third, involve our faculty in experiential activities that drive home the fact that drugs and the brain don’t work well together.  Some activities can include driving or walking under the influence with drug goggles, the impact of learning while on drugs, and testing your short term memory.
Scholastic Magazine Teacher Lesson Plans
Drugs and the Teen Brain Video
Classroom Activities for the Classroom
Brain-Body Connection
Quiz About Medical Marijuana

Fourth, teach parents to set guidelines for safe parties at their home by encouraging non-alcoholic activities and events, provide supervision, and not allow alcoholic beverages or drugs on their property.

Fifth, inform parents and guardians that they can prevent themselves from becoming an “accidental dealer” by locking up their prescription drugs from their students.  The fact show that kids, especially in rural areas, begin to experiment at home from prescription drugs. Also, give parents resources to take inventory of their prescription drugs and safe disposal of medications.
Are you an accidental dealer?
Drug Inventory Sheet
Safe Drug Disposal

Student Campaigns
There are several websites that you can visit can find ideas for student activities in your school.

SADD-lots of great ideas for student activities.

Drugs Are Dumb!-See a list of Red Ribbon themes and related activities.
Heads Up-interactive activities for students showing them how drugs affect brain function.

Some out of the box student activities to take your Red Ribbon Week to the next level!

Ghost Out-every 30 minutes the Grim Reaper will visit a classroom to take the soul of a student who has died from a drug/alcohol related crash.

Don’t Let It Be You-a coffin is placed in the cafeteria or hallway. As the students walk by they naturally want to take a peek to see what is in it.  Many students are surprised to see a reflection of themselves in the coffin with a sign warning them about the dangers of using drugs.

Mock Car Wreck-students enact a horrific car wreck in the front of the school.

Connect Red Ribbon Week to Homecoming Activities-download the kit from SADD.

SADD Homecoming Kit
Homecoming Manual
Homecoming Pledge Card

Red Ribbon Certified School Application– Become a Red Ribbon Certified School by showing your commitment to show your school’s commitment to healthy families, resiliency skills for students, and teacher retention.

Some additional resources for Red Ribbon Week
2013 Red Ribbon Guide
Red Ribbon Week Fact Sheet
Take the Red Ribbon Pledge
Information on Drugs of Abuse
How Drug Addiction Occurs in Teens
Videos about Drug Use in Teens

Red Ribbon Week Supplies

Scholastic Posters

What activities will you be conducting in your school for Red Ribbon Week?  Please feel free to share!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.