News Release
October 20, 2009
Contact: DEA Public Affairs
(202) 307-7977

DEA Kicks-Off Red Ribbon Campaign
Events to be held throughout the U.S. this month

OCT 20 - (Washington, D.C.) – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will officially kick-off the National Red Ribbon Campaign on Wednesday, October 28th.

The National Red Ribbon Campaign, which is the nation’s largest drug prevention effort, began after drug traffickers in Mexico tortured and brutally murdered Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in March 1985. Officially, Red Ribbon Week will be celebrated nationally from October 23-31; however, several communities and school districts hold events throughout the month.

The Red Ribbon Campaign is dedicated to helping to preserve Special Agent Camarena's memory and further the cause for which he gave his life, the fight against the violence of drug crime and the misery of addiction. By gathering together in special events and wearing a Red Ribbon during the last week in October, Americans from all walks of life demonstrate their opposition to drugs.

“Red Ribbon Week honors Kiki Camarena, who 25 years ago next March made the ultimate sacrifice fighting drugs. The news of his death touched the nation, and today, millions of young people born well after Kiki’s death wear red ribbons and sign pledges to remain drug-free,” said DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. “DEA will continue to take drug traffickers out of our communities as part of a comprehensive drug control strategy that includes effective enforcement, prevention and treatment. All those who put their lives on the line enforcing our nation’s drug laws pay tribute to the young Americans who stand with them by wearing a red ribbon during Red Ribbon Week.”

Red Ribbon week started as a local effort in Camarena’s hometown of Calexico, California when Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Camarena’s high school friend, Henry Lozano, created Camarena Clubs to ensure fond memories of Kiki. The National Family Partnership (NFP) created a national campaign of observance, an eight-day event proclaimed by the U.S. Congress and chaired by then President and Mrs. Reagan. Approximately 80 million people participate in Red Ribbon events every year.

For news about events scheduled in your areas, please check the web at or contact your local DEA Office.

For any further information, contact the DEA Office of Public Affairs in Washington, DC at 202-307-7977.