Red Ribbon Week has been a big player in spreading public awareness and education about illicit drug use. Originally created to honor DEA Agent Enrique (Kiki) Camarena, who was kidnapped and killed while investigating a drug cartel in Mexico in 1985, Red Ribbon Week has only grown in popularity each year.
All types of events and activities are held as part of Red Ribbon Week, which is celebrated from October 23-31 annually. Though schools often play a large role in Red Ribbon Week education and participation, community organizations and law enforcement agencies are also important partners in building a robust host of events and engagement opportunities.
Explore the following activation ideas for this year’s Red Ribbon Week:
Themed Day or Week
Organize a themed day or week for your community. A popular idea among schools, this can be expanded to involve the entire community. With wearing red as a given, other days can be as creative as you’d like, such as “Team Up Against Drugs” (wear sports jerseys or shirts).
To further engage the community with this effort, create a social media competition where locals use the official Red Ribbon Week hashtag #LiveDrugFree and tag your department in photos of them participating in the themed day(s).
Sponsor or Host an Educational Lecture
Building on the education being provided on your social media accounts, reach out to an expert on drug abuse prevention and invite them to come speak to your community. Alternatively, find an officer willing to give a presentation on any prevention-related topic, such as how to identify when someone may be using or abusing drugs and what resources are available to those struggling.
This is a great opportunity to hand out educational materials that attendees can take home with them and study, such as our books “Let's All Work to Fight Drug Abuse” and “Your Life, Your Choices” or our Drug Prevention flyers.
Arrange a Drug Prevention Event
In addition to hosting an educational lecture or seminar, consider arranging a larger event or fair. A variety of community organizations can be involved in educating the community and sharing their part in preventing illegal drug use in the area. This can include hospitals or clinics, first responder agencies, drug support and rehabilitation groups, and other nonprofit organizations.
This is another good opportunity to hand out educational materials to community members.
Post Drug Education Material on Social Media
While hosting in-person events may not be feasible for every agency, social media is an effective free tool to use, especially during Red Ribbon Week. Helping your followers understand the prominence of illicit drug use and the multitude of consequences illegal drug use can have is a positive step towards preventing abuse and addiction.
Sharing drug education information on your social media accounts throughout the week can reach hundreds or thousands of community members while requiring minimal manpower. Find unbranded graphics on drug use statistics and prevention information on our social media management platform, LAW Digital.
Displaying and/or wearing red ribbons is just the start in showing your support of and participation in Red Ribbon Week. All of the above opportunities can be woven together as part of a weeklong effort to support Red Ribbon Week, involving the community in a variety of ways, including digitally and physically.
Red Ribbon Week is just around the corner. Do you need materials to finalize your plans? Click here to request copies of our drug abuse and prevention materials.