As school counselors, we have several reasons for celebrating Red Ribbon Week.  Our plans include educating students and staff about the dangers of drugs; bringing awareness to the school community about how drugs can negatively impact students; and improving communication between staff and students. So, let’s say you have a successful Red Ribbon Week…congratulations!  Now, will you be able to handle the aftermath? 

So, we all do a great job making preparations for Red Ribbon Week. However, what follow up  activities and discussions do we have after the initial event? 

Red Ribbon Week Follow Up Activities

First, you need to be prepared for any disclosures and referrals about drug use.  If you are a new school counselor or this is your first Red Ribbon Week campaign, you need to know how to handle those referrals.

Dr. Carolyn Stone, who specializes in ethics for school counselors, gives excellent guidance on how school counselors should handle drug related reports and disclosures.

1.  Make sure you provide informed consent to your students about what activities you must report.
2.  Explain to students the extent of confidentiality when involving substance use.
3.  Know your state and district policies about disclosing information about substance use to family members.
4.  When students are in imminent danger, remember you have a duty to report, refer, and include the family. 

See the following article from Rhonda Williams.
Ethics of Substance Abuse Issues

Second, if you feel inexperienced about teen drug use than make efforts to educate yourself. Many school counselors are not up to date on the latest drug trends and their dangers; therefore, it is important to keep up with the latest information. Here are some webinars you can view for more information:

Webinar: Cannabis and Bipolar Disorder 

Operation Virtual Field Trip: Explore the Science of Addiction 

Third, know that you have the ability to prevent substance abuse in your school.  See this guest post from Bradley University called the School Counselors Role in Preventing Substance Abuse.

Fourth, do your research about why kids are taking drugs.  It is important that we understand the lure of drugs and their warning signs. 

4 Traits that Put Kids at Risk for Addiction

Recognizing the Warning Signs of Drug Use

Signs of Drug Use

Why Do Teens Use Drugs? 
Fifth, learn how to recognize the common types of drugs that teens are using.  Here are some resources that may be helpful to you as you are learning more about drug use.

Recognizing Drugs by Photos

List of Common Drugs

View of Common Drug Paraphernalia

New Drug Trends

Trending Drug Topics

 Marijuana Talk Kit

How Drugs Impact a Teen’s Brain

Mind Over Matter

A Little Dab Wont do: What School Counselors Need to Know About Marijuana Concentrates

Sixth, make plans to go into the classroom and talk to students during the year.  See some ideas regarding student activities and lessons.

Student Activities and Printables About Drugs

Drug Lesson Plans

Red Ribbon Week Curriculum Ideas

Just Think Twice

Seventh, make plans for meaningful drug education. Planning for a meaningful drug awareness campaigns for students can make a difference in your school community and gives you credibility with your school community.

Prepare for Drug Fact Awareness Week, 2017

January 23-29, 2017

Planning Your Event 

Drug Facts

Drug Fact Awareness, 2015

New Teen Drug Trends in 2016

Get Ready for Red Ribbon Week 2017

Confident School Counselor’s Red Ribbon Week Ideas

Red Ribbon Week 2013 
Red Ribbon Week 2014

Red Ribbon Week 2015

DEA Red Ribbon Week Toolkit

I hope this blog is useful in helping you make your Drug Fact Awareness and Red Ribbon Week Campaign plans!


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