This year, Vida Del Norte is teaming up with the National Guard and Questa Schools to organize fun activities for Red Ribbon Week.
Red Ribbon Week is celebrated across the country every year as one way to raise awareness about substance misuse and prevention. The tradition was started in 1985 in response to the death of Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena who was killed during a raid. After the death of Agent Camarena, his friends and family wore red ribbons in his memory. Over time, the red ribbon became a symbol to help mobilize communities and educate youth about substance use disorders and substance misuse prevention.
Every year, students around the country participate in a competition to create a new theme and poster for Red Ribbon Week. This year’s theme, Celebrate Life. Live Drug Free.™, was created by Emily King, Chelsea Abbott, and Celise Wicker, 7th graders at Wayland-Cohocton Middle School in Wayland, New York.
According to the 2020 National Survey on Drugs and Health, 40.3 million Americans aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder in the past year while 4 out of 5 Americans who needed treatment for a substance use disorder did not receive it. Some individuals may not seek treatment or receive adequate care for a substance use disorder because of the stigma and lack of support that they encounter surrounding this issue. Stigma can be defined as negative attitudes, judgments, and generalizations towards a group of people. People may hide their substance use or avoid seeking treatment because of feelings of shame, guilt, and fear of discrimination. Red Ribbon Week presents a time for us to show our support to our community and raise awareness about these issues that impact many lives.
Red Ribbon week can be a time to celebrate life and recognize the contributions of people who live drug-free and to recognize the efforts of people in recovery and their supporters. Students and community members wear red ribbons of solidarity. Businesses put red ribbons on their storefronts, and schools and community centers organize activities related to substance misuse prevention. These reminders present opportunities for people to engage with one another in ways that reduce the stigma around these issues and open pathways to living drug-free, being supportive, working towards recovery, and celebrating life.
We are all valuable.
The National Guard will be visiting Questa’s elementary and high schools Wednesday, Oct. 19, right before Red Ribbon Week. Please check www.vidadelnorte.com for further information about Red Ribbon Week activities and to learn more about reducing stigma and substance misuse prevention.