Red Ribbon Week Invites Rec Departments to Support Drug Free Campuses | Athletic Business

Wear Red Ribbons This Week to Support Drug Free Campuses

220926 01 News A 1
Courtesy of NIRSA

By Bill Crockett, RCRSP, NIRSA Communications

Campus Drug Prevention, an educational arm of the United State Government’s Drug Enforcement Administration, in conjunction with the Red Ribbon Campaign, is gearing up for the 35th Red Ribbon Week — the nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention awareness program.

Celebrated annually from Oct. 23-31, this year’s theme is Celebrate Life. Live Drug Free. which serves as a reminder that everyday people in all walks of life continue to make meaningful contributions to their communities by living and supporting a drug-free life.

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 which has turned into a national movement over the course of the past 30 years.

Current studies have shown that substance abuse and drug overdoses have increased in the United States since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared a national emergency in 2020, making this campaign and its mission more critical and relevant than ever: Support our nation’s families and communities in nurturing the full potential of healthy, drug free youth.

Wearing red ribbons during October 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 over 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 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 sheetsvideo clipspromotional ideas for communities and schools, graphics, and more are all available for free download as part of the DEA Red Ribbon ToolkitTake the pledge and 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 college students the life skills that will enable them to be successful in college and after.

Bill Crockett is currently the executive director of the Division of Student Affairs at the University of Maryland Baltimore, a past president of NIRSA, and the NIRSA representative on CoHEASAP. 

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