The National Red Ribbon Campaign was sparked by the murder of DEA Special Agent Enrique Camarena by drug traffickers. Within weeks of his death in March of 1985, Camarenas Congressman, Duncan Hunter, and high school friend Henry Lozano, launched Camarena Clubs in Imperial Valley, California, Camarenas home. Hundreds of club members pledged to lead drug-free lives to honor the sacrifices made by Camarena and others on behalf of all Americans. From these clubs emerged the Red Ribbon Week campaign.
Today, Red Ribbon Week is nationally recognized and celebrated, helping to preserve Special Agent Camarenas memory and further the cause for which he gave his life. The Red Ribbon Campaign also became a symbol of support for the DEAs efforts to reduce demand for drugs through prevention and education programs. By wearing a red ribbon during the last week in October, Americans demonstrate their ardent opposition to drugs. They pay homage not only to Special Agent Camarena, but to all men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in support of our nations struggle against drug trafficking and abuse.
If you would like to show your support, please wear a red ribbon this week to commemorate these brave men and women and to recognize the importance of drug education and prevention. This week-long tribute is a time to raise national consciousness of the devastating drug abuse problem in our country, and to acknowledge our ongoing commitment to fighting it. Please take some time this week to discuss drug prevention with your families, colleagues, friends, and neighbors.
"Race Against Drugs" Helps get Red Ribbon Week off to a Great Start: DEA's special guests from Calexico, California High School, pose in front of the "Race Against Drugs" stock car, along with leaders of DEA's Demand Reduction Section and the Red Ribbon Week Campaign.
DEA Headquarters Begins Red Ribbon Week with a Kick-Off Celebration
The rich heritage and continued strength of the Red Ribbon Program were emphasized at this years Red Ribbon Week Kickoff Rally at DEA Headquarters. The event, held October 11, featured founders as well as current members of the program at Calexico, California, High School, where the Red Ribbon Campaign began in 1985.
Im so pleased to participate in this Rally as the Administrator of an agency that is a worldwide leader not only in law enforcement, but in education and prevention efforts, commented DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson. Red Ribbon Week is so important in the drug prevention community. Im honored to be a part of it.
Other featured speakers were Henry Lozano, one of the founders of the program, and several students from Calexico, California High Schools Red Ribbon Program. The celebration of the kick-off of red ribbon week continued as DEA Employees and guests were invited to take a look at the NASCAR stock car that was parked in the headquarters courtyard. The car, emblazoned with anti-drug messages, was sponsored by Race Against Drugs. Ron Steger, the president of that organization, was on-hand to distribute matchbox cars and other gifts to employees and the students from Calexico High School.