News Release
October 19, 2010

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

DEA acting administrator Michele Leonhart delivers remarks at the Red Ribbon ceremony.
DEA acting administrator Michele Leonhart delivers remarks at the Red Ribbon ceremony.

OCT 19 -- (WASHINGTON) DEA acting administrator Michele Leonhart was joined today by White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske to kick-off the National Red Ribbon Campaign at a ceremony in Arlington, Va.

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 is a time to remember those who have given everything in the fight against dangerous drugs,” said Leonhart. “We wear the Red Ribbon in tribute to their courage, and to ensure that their sacrifice was not made in vain. We wear the Red Ribbon to symbolize our dedication to living healthy, drug-free lives. Join us, make a difference, and celebrate the choice to be drug free.”

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.