Carmen C. Collazo
Substance Abuse Intervention Prevention Counselor
Red Ribbon Week originated as a tribute to Special Agent Enrique "Kiki" S. Camarena, a narcotics agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration. In 1985, Mr. Camarena was kidnapped and murdered by drug traffickers in Guadalajara, Mexico. Kiki’s death enraged many Americans in his hometown of Calexico, California, and they began to wear red ribbons to commemorate his sacrifice. The anti-drug message spread quickly, and in 1988, the National Family Partnership took the Red Ribbon Celebration nationwide. The focus of the celebration is to educate individuals, families, and communities on the destructive effects of drugs and the positive life choices available.
Red Ribbon Week is the nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention program, reaching millions of Americans during the last week of October every year. The Defense Department’s 2009 Red Ribbon Week observation is set for Oct. 23-31. Since 1990, Department of Defense has officially participated in this event to raise public awareness and mobilize communities to combat tobacco, alcohol and drug use among military personnel, civilians and their families.