News Release
October 11, 2006
Contact: Garrison Courtney
DEA Public Affairs
Number: 202-307-7977

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

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The National Red Ribbon Campaign has kicked off its twenty-first anniversary across the country. The campaign, which is the nation’s largest drug prevention effort, began after drug traffickers in Mexico kidnapped, 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.

"This week, our nation becomes one large community unified in taking a stand against drugs. Holding this community together are millions of red ribbons, worn proudly from Boston to Seattle, and from El Paso to Detroit. Over the past 21 years, the red ribbon has come to stand for many things: for honor—in remembrance of the courage and conviction of an American hero, DEA Special Agent Kiki Camarena; for understanding—of the realities of drugs and the thousands of lives they destroy; and for hope—for the American children who wear them, pledging to stay strong and drug-free," said DEA Administrator Karen P. Tandy.

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, which starts the third week of October each year, 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.