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Many people think that the only victim of drug use is the user themselves, however that isn’t the case. Drug use affects everyone around the user, especially their closest friends and families. Beyond that, the drug culture is an extremely violent culture that leaves many dead in its wake. Red Ribbon week is about recognizing that there is no safe user of drugs, and that the victim can be anyone. This year Red Ribbon Week is from October 23rd to 31st.

Red Ribbon Week started in 1985, to recognize the death of DEA Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camerena. Agent Camerena was an undercover DEA Agent working in Mexico within a dangerous drug cartel. After discovering a multimillion dollar narcotics manufacturing operation, Agent Kiki Camerena was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered along with fellow Captain Zavala-Avelar by Cartel members on February 7th, 1985. This led to an increased voice about the importance of prevention and reduction of drug use in the United States. In 1988 President Reagan recognized Red Ribbon week as a national event, which it has remained to this day.

More than 80 million people each year participate in Red Ribbon week throughout the United States, but it is important for that to continue growing. At some point every person will be affected by drug abuse, whether it is a family member, a friend, a colleague, or themselves, so it is important to prevent drug abuse before it happens. While rehabilitation is important, what is even more important is stopping addiction and use before it starts. Red Ribbon Week is about prevention and stopping a problem before it occurs, not after.

Red Ribbon Week is not just for kids, but for people of all ages. There are many different ways you can participate, and they vary from very simple to quite complex. One simple thing you can do is to encourage your school or place of employment to wear all red on October 23rd in recognition of all those who have died because of drug abuse. You can also wear a red ribbon throughout the week to show your support, and encourage community or school events, such as poster contests, drug-free races, and publicizing the importance of living a drug-free lifestyle. Another important thing is talking to your children about the dangers of drug use and the importance of being drug free, because kids take more information from their parents than anywhere else. Creating a drug-free community is the center goal of Red Ribbon Week, and it is important for all of us to do our part.

For more information on Red Ribbon Week visit Camarena Foundation article or resources at Justice Gov

Remember, a drug-free community is a much safer community.