The History of Red Ribbon Week

Christina L., Staff Writer

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We all know the phrase, “Drug use is life abuse”, and everyone has heard about Red Ribbon Week, but not many people know the history behind it. Red Ribbon Week is the largest and oldest drug campaign in the United States. But it isn’t just a cool and fun way to get the message to people that drugs are unhealthy and dangerous for you. Red Ribbon Week started when Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena wanted to make a difference.

Camarena was assigned to track down drug traffickers in Mexico. For four and-a-half years, he was on the trail of the country’s biggest cocaine and marijuana smugglers. In 1985, when he was extremely close to unlocking a multi-billion dollar drug pipeline, he was kidnapped and killed on February seventh by the drug traffickers before exposing them to the public. During Camarena’s 11 years with the DEA, he received two Sustained Superior Performance Awards, a Special Achievement Award, and posthumously, the highest award granted by the DEA, the Administrator Award of Honor.

Today, Red Ribbon Week honors the sacrifices that Special Agent Enrique Camarena made. Red Ribbon Week also brings millions of people to raise the awareness of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug preventions.