Red Ribbon Campaign Continues to Spread Drug Prevention Message

Formed in 1980 by a coalition of concerned parents, the National Federation of Parents for Drug Free Youth got a big boost when Nancy Reagan served as its honorary chair. The organization later changed their name to the National Family Partnership (NFP) and in 1985 created the nation’s largest drug prevention program, the Red Ribbon Campaign.

The difference between the 1980s and now is the percentage of kids taking prescription drugs — they have a far less favorable view of illicit drugs, but attitudes about the drugs in their parents’ medicine cabinets have taken a deadly turn.

The red ribbon was created in honor of Enrique Camarena, an agent for the Drug Enforcement Agency who in 1985 was murdered by drug lords while working undercover in Mexico. Upset community members wanting to bring awareness to communities and families being torn apart by drug abuse started the first Red Ribbon Campaign in 1988.

When members sign up with the NFP they’re helping to push the agenda of a vocal group that has the attention of our nation’s leaders that puts the word out about teen drug abuse.

The NFP is one of the largest producers of literature that stresses prevention efforts. Their brochures touch on subjects such as education, prevention Red Ribbon Certified Schools, Safe Homes/Safe Parties and Lock Your Meds.

Organizations across the country are becoming more active in Red Ribbon Campaigns, hosting events that include classroom exercises to educate kids on the dangers of using drugs. Some communities have expanded the Red Ribbon Campaign to increase awareness of the dangers of smoking and underage drinking. The NFP helps these organizations plan their events to develop a strong and unified message that can assist a community in its efforts to go drug free.

The red ribbon also symbolizes AIDS and heart disease awareness campaigns. But during the last week of October the NFP asks everyone to focus their energy on creating awareness for a problem that is deeply affecting America’s youth in greater and greater numbers.