Every October, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) holds its annual Red Ribbon Week (RRW) Campaign to honor fallen DEA Agent Enrique “Kiki” S. Camarena, and to remind Americans that we all can live healthy lives without drugs.
The name Kiki Camerena may be familiar to some of you if you’ve watched Narcos: Mexico on Netflix, but there’s much more to his story and how the Red Ribbon Campaign came to be. Shortly after Kiki’s death at the hands of drug traffickers in 1985, individuals came together to memorialize Kiki and formed “Camarena Clubs” in Kiki’s hometown of Calexico, CA. Hundreds of the club members wore red ribbons and pledged to live drug-free lives to honor the sacrifices made by Kiki and others. The campaign gained momentum in the following years, and in 1988 made its way to Washington, D.C. where it was formalized and received presidential recognition. In 2020, RRW remains one of the largest, oldest, and most successful substance abuse prevention campaigns in the United States.
During the week of October 23 – 31, you’re invited to wear red and to pledge to live healthy, drug-free lives. A pledge can as simple as talking to your kids and loved ones about the dangers of drug use, wearing something red during the week, trying a new exercise class, learning how to cook a healthy new recipe, or just taking a moment to reflect and honor those who have lost their lives and those who continue to fight in the pursuit of making our country healthy and drug-free.
For more information about the campaign and Kiki’s story, check out the resource available at www.dea.gov/redribbon and share your efforts on social media using the hashtags #DEARedRibbon and #GoRed4RedRibbon.