Red Ribbon Week

Jake Dailey, Website Editor

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Last week at Norco High School, we had Red Ribbon Week. For those who don’t know, Red Ribbon Week is a prevention campaign targeting alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use.

The campaign goes beyond just trying to prevent drug use, by encouraging community projects to have all work toward drug free youths. The idea of Red Ribbon week originated from the murder of DEA officer Enrique “Kiki” Camarena who had been working undercover in Mexico to bring down a cartel. After his death, Congressman Duncan Hunter and his high school, friend Henry Lozano, launched Camarena Clubs in Camarena’s hometown of Calexico, California. Club members wore red ribbons and pledged to lead drug-free lives in solidarity of Camarena’s goal as a DEA officer.

The campaign eventually gained popularity throughout California and spread across the United States. It was brought national attention in 1985 when club members presented the “Camarena Club Proclamation” to then First Lady, Nancy Reagan. The campaign was formalized in 1988 by the National Family Partnership, with President Reagan and Nancy Reagan serving as honorary chairpersons.

Today, the campaign promotes the intolerance of drugs in schools, workplaces, and communities, as the devastating effects of the production of illegal drugs destroys lives. Additionally, they have recently introduced new curriculum about prescription drug abuse, as it has become a bigger problem in recent years. This new course is targeted at teaching the proper use and disposal of prescription drugs and how to step in when situations involve misuse, following the CDC’s National Health Education Standards.

Contests involving community works also take place, with a prominent one being the photo contest. This year was the 7th annual photo contest, with the theme being “Life is Your Journey. Travel Drug Free.” Students could decorate the front of their home, or school campus, with a double looped red ribbon, using the theme as the direction for design. Families who won were awarded with an iPad and $1,000 towards the school of their choice. Schools that won for their decorations were given an iPad for the school employee or PTA member who entered the school in the contest, and $1,000 towards drug prevention education at the school. These two were based on votes from the region, and each had 5 winners nationally. The rest of the ten winners were awarded based on judges’ decisions for certain categories. The categories for school decoration were Most Creative, Best Use of the School and Community, Best Use of the Theme, Most Parent/Family Representation, and Most Educational. For the home design, the categories were Most Creative, Best Use of Family and Community, Best Use of Theme, Most Ambitious, and Most Educational.

So, what may seem like a rather dumb thing to many students here at Norco High, actually has an important origin and promotes the well-being of all, and should be respected.