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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
October 16, 2001

Red Ribbon Week
October 23-31, 2001

photo of Henry Lozano
Henry Lozano
Co-Founder of the Red
Ribbon Week Program

photo of David Dhillon

“The resiliency of this country is amazing. There’s no country in the world that turns tragedies into super-positive things like this country...It’s unbelievable how we can bounce back from tragic events like Camarena’s death and turn it into something as wonderful as the Red Ribbon Week program.”

-David Dhillon, a co-founder of the Red Ribbon Week Program

The National Red Ribbon Campaign was sparked by the murder of DEA Special Agent Enrique Camarena by drug traffickers. Within weeks of his death in March of 1985, Camarena’s Congressman, Duncan Hunter, and high school friend Henry Lozano, launched Camarena Clubs in Imperial Valley, California, Camarena’s home. Hundreds of club members pledged to lead drug-free lives to honor the sacrifices made by Camarena and others on behalf of all Americans. From these clubs emerged the Red Ribbon Week campaign.

Today, Red Ribbon Week is nationally recognized and celebrated, helping to preserve Special Agent Camarena’s memory and further the cause for which he gave his life. The Red Ribbon Campaign also became a symbol of support for the DEA’s efforts to reduce demand for drugs through prevention and education programs. By wearing a red ribbon during the last week in October, Americans demonstrate their ardent opposition to drugs. They pay homage not only to Special Agent Camarena, but to all men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in support of our nation’s struggle against drug trafficking and abuse.

If you would like to show your support, please wear a red ribbon this week to commemorate these brave men and women and to recognize the importance of drug education and prevention. This week-long tribute is a time to raise national consciousness of the devastating drug abuse problem in our country, and to acknowledge our ongoing commitment to fighting it. Please take some time this week to discuss drug prevention with your families, colleagues, friends, and neighbors.


photo of DEA's Red Ribbon

To Request a Red Ribbon:

Call DEA’s Demand Reduction Office






"Race Against Drugs" Helps get Red Ribbon Week off to a Great Start: DEA's special guests from Calexico, California High School, pose in front of the "Race Against Drugs" stock car, along with leaders of DEA's Demand Reduction Section and the Red Ribbon Week Campaign.

DEA Headquarters Begins Red Ribbon Week with a Kick-Off Celebration

The rich heritage and continued strength of the Red Ribbon Program were emphasized at this year’s Red Ribbon Week Kickoff Rally at DEA Headquarters. The event, held October 11, featured founders as well as current members of the program at Calexico, California, High School, where the Red Ribbon Campaign began in 1985.

photo of Administrator Hutchinson“I’m so pleased to participate in this Rally as the Administrator of an agency that is a worldwide leader not only in law enforcement, but in education and prevention efforts,” commented DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson. “Red Ribbon Week is so important in the drug prevention community. I’m honored to be a part of it.”

Other featured speakers were Henry Lozano, one of the founders of the program, and several students from Calexico, California High School’s Red Ribbon Program. The celebration of the kick-off of red ribbon week continued as DEA Employees and guests were invited to take a look at the NASCAR stock car that was parked in the headquarters courtyard. The car, emblazoned with anti-drug messages, was sponsored by “Race Against Drugs.” Ron Steger, the president of that organization, was on-hand to distribute matchbox cars and other gifts to employees and the students from Calexico High School.

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