MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) -Red Ribbon Week, the country’s oldest and largest drug abuse prevention program aimed at school children, wraps up Friday.
Red Ribbon Week has been around since the 1980s. It was created after drug traffickers murdered a Drug Enforcement Agent, getting a strong message about what it means to misuse drugs across to elementary students.
“Following his death, individuals began wearing red ribbons in his honor. So since that time, millions of people have been wearing their red ribbons, participating in community anti-drug events and pledging to live to the drug-free life," explained Satavia Mann, a prevention association with the Alabama Department of Mental Health.
The theme for this year’s Red Ribbon Week is “Be happy. Be Brave. Be drug-free."
“It is geared towards raising awareness to communities and schools on preventing drug misuse, while also encouraging individuals to live a drug-free life,” Mann said.
Red Ribbon Week has always been about starting conversations at an early age about what it means to abuse alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. It’s a campaign that has historically targeted elementary students. Mann says those conversations are important to start at home this year, with so many students learning from home.
“I think one of the best conversations to have is just to remember their main goals. They have many career aspirations and many dreams that they want to achieve in life. And you want to encourage them to live a drug-free life, and knowing that how the use, or the misuse, of these drugs can somewhat hinder their journey in the process,” said Mann. “It’s important to have these conversations, so they’ll know and have the right tools and information to make informed decisions and say no, this is not good for me and know that it affects individuals and their communities.”