Department of Defense Education Activity

DoDEA Celebrates Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31, 2011)

Media Advisory: October 14, 2011

ARLINGTON, VA — Red Ribbon Week is a national observance in memory of Enrique (Kiki) Camarena, a DEA agent and former Marine, who gave his life fighting the battle against illegal drugs. Red Ribbon Week has become a major force for raising awareness and mobilizing communities to combat alcohol, drug and tobacco abuse. The Department of Defense has officially participated in this event since 1990, with the aim to reduce drug abuse among its members and their families.

Many DoDEA schools around the world will be participating in this national observance. Red Ribbon Week presents a critical opportunity for parents, educators, and communities to fight the constant battle against drugs by talking with children about the real issues around drug use and abuse. Red Ribbon Week offers an ideal opportunity for parents, teachers, educators, and community organizations to raise awareness of the problem.

The red ribbon symbolizes a continuing commitment to reducing the demand for illicit drugs in our communities. In 1985, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent Enrique S. "Kiki" Camarena was killed by drug traffickers. Shortly after Camarena's death, citizens from his hometown of Calexico, California, began wearing red ribbons to remember him and commemorate his sacrifice. Congress established Red Ribbon Week in 1988.

DoDEA schools are encouraged to support Red Ribbon Week by engaging in drug abuse prevention education activities with students, faculty and families around this year's theme "It's Up to Me to be Drug Free".

Red Ribbon Week gives us the opportunity to be vocal and visible in our efforts to achieve a drug-free community. Research shows that children are less likely to use alcohol and other drugs when parents and other role models are clear and consistent in their opposition to substance use and abuse.

For information on local events, contact DoD School principals.