Narconon Arrowhead Observes Red Ribbon Week 2014

Red Ribbon week 2014 logo

From October 23rd through the 31st, the staff and students of Narconon Arrowhead celebrated Red Ribbon Week, an annual event which is part of the broader Nationwide Red Ribbon Campaign, sponsored by the National Family Partnership. Throughout the week, Narconon Arrowhead worked to spread the message of Red Ribbon Week, which this year was summed up with the theme “Love Yourself. Be Drug Free.” Red Ribbon Week is all about promoting awareness of the dangers of drug use and the negative impacts of drugs on the individual and society, and Narconon Arrowhead is a strong supporter of the event.

This year, the center was active in promoting the event through the internet, publishing press releases and by posting in blogs and on other channels to make sure that everyone knew about the event and about the broader Red Ribbon Campaign. Though it has a history dating back nearly 30 years now, Red Ribbon Week is still not fully known to many people, and it is important to get the word out to as many people as possible.

About Red Ribbon Week

Red Ribbon week has its foundations in the aftermath of the brutal torturing and murder of Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena. He was captured and killed by agents of a drug cartel in Mexico. “I’m only one person”, Camarena told his mother when joining the DEA, “but I want to make a difference.” During his time serving with the DEA, he did indeed make a difference, as when the information he provided to the government of Mexico enabled the destruction of a massive marijuana growing operation worth several billion dollars in annual revenue for the cartels. This earned him the wrath of the cartels, and he was killed as a result. In reaction to this outrage, parents and others around the United States began wearing red ribbons to commemorate Camarena and to help raise awareness of the horrible effects of drugs in our society.

As a result, Camarena has continued to make a difference despite the fact that his life was taken so tragically. Now, the Red Ribbon Campaign has expanded to become one of the largest of its kind, and it has reached millions of children with its anti-drug message.

Central to the activities associated with Red Ribbon Week is getting parents to take the Red Ribbon Pledge. This pledge includes making a commitment to talk to children about the dangers of drugs, to set clear rules for children about not using drugs, to set a good example by not using illegal drugs or using medicine without a prescription, to monitor children’s behavior and enforce appropriate consequences, and to encourage family and friends to do the same.

a red ribbon

Essentially the Red Ribbon Pledge calls on parents to play a more active role in keeping their children off drugs. Too many parents leave it to school and the media to educate their children about the dangers of substance abuse, and some do little or nothing to let their children know that they are not to use drugs, assuming that it is understood. All it takes, in many cases, is the simple act of taking time to actually talk to your child about drugs and letting he or she know that you don’t approve of them, to make the difference between whether or not your child will end up trying drugs. Of course, it’s not something you can do once and assume it is handled, but it can’t be overlooked either. An act as small as pinning a red ribbon to one’s chest for a week can start a dialogue about this, and if it inspires a parent to do what it takes to keep his or her child off drugs, it can save a life.


Sue Birkenshaw

Sue has worked in the addiction field with the Narconon network for three decades. She has developed and administered drug prevention programs worldwide and worked with numerous drug rehabilitation centers over the years. Sue is also a fine artist and painter, who enjoys traveling the world which continues to provide unlimited inspiration for her work. You can follow Sue on Twitter, or connect with her on LinkedIn.