Red Ribbon Week Provides Resources to Support Drug-Free Campuses

Campus Drug Prevention, an educational arm of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, in conjunction with the Red Ribbon Campaign, is gearing up for their 34th Red Ribbon Week — the nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention awareness program.

Celebrated annually from Oct. 23-31, this year’s theme is "Drug Free Looks Like Me" to encourage schools and workplaces to keep increasing the level of awareness and the benefits of living in a drug-free community.

The Red Ribbon Campaign started with a grassroots movement in 1985, after the death of Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. In 1988, a collaboration with the National Family Partnership oversaw the first National Red Ribbon Week and the rest is history. A lot has changed in the past 30 years, never more so than in the past 18 months, and the challenges our youth face now are different than when this work began. However, their mission has never changed: support our nation’s families and communities in nurturing the full potential of healthy, drug-free youth.

Wearing red ribbons during Oct. 23-31 not only helps to raise awareness on preventing drug abuse in our schools and communities but it also serves to commemorate all those who have lost their lives in the fight against drugs. This year, join more than 80 million people around the world by showing your support for a drug-free life style by lighting up buildings, landmarks, businesses, and bridges in red. Post a photo on your social media platforms, and tag #DEARedRibbon and #GoRed4RedRibbon — and of course don’t forget to tag @NIRSAlive on Twitter or Instagram.

Celebrate Red Ribbon Week on your campus

As educators and NIRSA professionals, we are dedicated to sharing resources that engage students and professionals in critical dialogues on the importance of making clear and positive choices to be drug free.

Fact sheets, video clips, promotional ideas for communities and schools, graphics, and more are all available for free download as part of the DEA Red Ribbon Toolkit. Help spread the word about Red Ribbon Week on your campus and in your community.


NIRSA is a member of the Coalition of Higher Education Associations for Substance Abuse Prevention (CoHEASAP), a group of organizations who collaborate on substance abuse prevention efforts within the higher education community.

This coalition of higher education associations and organizations seeks to eradicate the abuse of alcohol, tobacco, legal and illegal drugs, and other substances among college students. It strives to inspire students to review their lifestyles and make informed decisions regarding these substances. Member organizations support teaching life skills to college students that will enable success in college and after.

For more information about Red Ribbon Week, visit

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