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OP-ED: Mask out drugs for Red Ribbon Week

Kim Bartel

While many events have been canceled due to COVID-19, Red Ribbon Week is still on. Each year the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council of Deep East Texas promotes Red Ribbon Week to raise awareness concerning the risks of drug and alcohol use. Red Ribbon Week is the largest drug-abuse prevention campaign in the nation. The theme for this year is “Mask Out Drugs” and the dates are October 23-31.

The challenges facing our young people today are not the same as when the Red Ribbon Week campaign began in 1985, but the mission has stayed the same: to support families and communities in nurturing the full potential of healthy, drug free youth. As the world around us is filled with uncertainty and even turmoil, it is vital to encourage the children to choose healthy alternatives and to stay drug free.

The purpose of Red Ribbon Week is to commemorate the ultimate sacrifice made by DEA Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who died at the hands of drug traffickers in Mexico while fighting the battle against illegal drugs to keep our country and children safe. The purpose of Red Ribbon Week is to raise awareness concerning the use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Helping students see that they have better things to do than drugs by making Red Ribbon Week a celebration in every school and community has proven to be very effective. A commitment to educating our kids on the dangers associated with the use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs will increase the chances that they will make better decisions in life.

Even though we now live in a world of social distancing and face masks, there are still many ways to get involved in Red Ribbon Week. You can:

  • Talk to your kids about dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs,
  • Post drug-free messages on school and business marquees,
  • Post drug-free messages on your social media pages,
  • Wear Red every Friday during October, and
  • Wear a Red Ribbon each day October 23rd-31st.

The Alcohol & Drug Abuse Council will be hosting virtual Red Ribbon rallies on YouTube and Facebook, so be sure to check them out. To receive a virtual rally email us at party@adacdet.org. If you would like more information concerning Red Ribbon Week or the risks of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs go to our web page at www.adacdet.org or call 1-844-772-3483.

Kim Bartel is with Alcohol & Drug Abuse Council Region 5 Prevention Resource Center