RED RIBBON WEEK, which is celebrated annually October 23-31, is the nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention awareness program. 

Red Ribbon Week was started after the death of Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who in 1985 was brutally tortured and murdered by drug traffickers he was investigating in Mexico. As a tribute to SA Camarena, high school friend Henry Lozano and Congressman Duncan Hunter created “Camarena Clubs” and the wearing of a red ribbon to show their opposition to drugs. 

In 1988, the National Family Partnership coordinated the first National Red Ribbon Week with President and Mrs. Reagan serving as honorary Chairpersons. Since then, the Red Ribbon campaign has taken on national significance. Wearing red ribbons during the month of October continues to represent our pledge to live drug free and honors the sacrifice of all who have lost their lives in the fight against drugs.

Celebrate Red Ribbon Week in your community and raise awareness of living a drug-free life. 

Campus Video PSA Contest

As part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Red Ribbon Week campaign, DEA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration are cosponsoring a Campus Video PSA Contest for colleges and universities to promote the importance of preventing alcohol and drug misuse among college students. The contest is currently open and accepting entries until November 8, 2021.  Learn more.


More Red Ribbon Week Information

Check out the DEA Red Ribbon Toolkit with fact sheets, PowerPoint presentations, promotion ideas, a sample Red Ribbon press release, Red Ribbon Graphics, and Red Ribbon video, all available to download.


In this letter, signed by DEA Acting Administrator Timothy Shea and Department of Education official Frank Brogan, the leaders promote the celebration of Red Ribbon Week in schools.NEW: Joint Letter Promoting Red Ribbon Week Signed by DEA and Department of Education Officials

"Go Red for Red Ribbon Week" flyer Celebrate Red Ribbon

Ways to promote Red Ribbon in your school or community

Celebrating a Hero's Life—the story of Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena

Sample Red Ribbon Week Proclamation

Watch the Red Ribbon Week Video

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