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Keep the Spirit of Red Ribbon Week Alive All Year Long

During the last week of October every year, there are a number of drug addiction and trafficking awareness events that happen across the country in honor or Red Ribbon Week.

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, the first national Red Ribbon Week happened in 1988 and began well before that in communities across the country to commemorate the work of Special Agent Enriqué “Kiki” Camarena. Special Agent Camarena had worked for the DEA for 11 years and was assigned to Guadalajara, Mexico. He was working to take down a multi-billion dollar pipeline that trafficked marijuana and cocaine out of the country and into the United States and around the world. However, on February 7, 1985, Special Agent Camarena was kidnapped, tortured and killed by the drug traffickers he was working to expose. It was an event that rocked the United States and helped many Americans to understand the deadly nature of the drug addiction business and how it affects those beyond the person struggling with the addiction, beyond the families of addicted loved ones, and beyond the communities who must pay for the damage caused by active drug addiction. Drug addiction is a worldwide issue and one that is deadly to all involved. Red Ribbon Week seeks to remember that fact, raise awareness, and use the opportunity to remember Special Agent Camarena and re-focus attention on the goal of a drug-free country and a drug-free world.

The National Family Partnership says that more than 80 million Americans take part in Red Ribbon Week events each year. There are essay and poster contests, drug-free races, the wearing of red ribbons, parades, and other events designed to raise awareness and prevent drug addiction while promoting drug addiction treatment for those who are already struggling with the issue.

How do we keep the community spirit and focus on drug addiction prevention alive all year around? Here are some ideas:

  • Drug awareness and prevention in the schools as part of an ongoing effort to fight addiction
  • Community activism designed to reach out to kids and parents to promote awareness
  • Ongoing outreach services to those currently living with drug addiction

What do you suggest? What do you think would help keep the spirit of Red Ribbon Week alive throughout the year and help to fight the worldwide drug trafficking and addiction problem that Special Agent Camarena gave his life for.

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