Every year during the last week in October, the National Red Ribbon Celebration comes to schools throughout the United States. Started by a group of concerned parents “who were convinced they should begin to play a leadership role in drug prevention,” this grassroots, nonprofit group has been around since 1980.
In 1985 the actual red ribbon made its appearance in Calexico, California as a way to honor the memory of murdered DEA Special Agent Enrigue Camarena by citizens in his hometown; Enrigue was kidnapped and killed by the Mexican drug lords he was trying to bring to justice. The Red Ribbon Celebration went national in 1988 and today it is”a national leader in drug prevention education and advocacy.” While the Red Ribbon Celebration serves as a way to “educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities,” National Family Partnership also educates their Partners and provides literature on their other campaigns.
Lock Your Meds Campaign “Be Aware. Don’t Share” was designed to make adults aware of prescription and over-the-counter medication abuse by children, and is sponsored by the National Family Partnership. Many adults are unaware that “70% of people 12 and older who abuse prescription drugs get them from family or friends.” Locking up medications can help reduce the 3.1 million kids 12-17 who report abusing prescription drugs. Tips on how to dispose of old medicines can be found here.
Safe Homes/Safe Parties, an Informed Families program here in Florida, is affiliated with the National Family Partnership. Parents sign a pledge, ensuring that “drugs, alcohol and cigarettes will not be permitted at parties held in their homes and discouraged at parties in the community.” Although a year-round program, it is more prevalent during school prom and graduation time in the spring. The site also provides tips for when your teen attends a party, is giving a party, or when you are out of town. As a parent you can take the pledge directly from your smart phone by texting the word “FAMILY” to phone number 69302.
What started out honoring the memory of one man’s fight against drugs has turned into a national prevention program teaching students the negative health effects of drugs, drinking and tobacco. Take a look at the ways you and your family can get involved.
Click here for more information on National Family Partnership & Red Ribbon Week.