Using Media Campaigns to Enhance Red Ribbon Week

Using Media Campaigns to Enhance Red Ribbon Week

Media campaigns are an important and efficient way to deliver substance use prevention, health and safety messages to youth, parents, and communities.  They are also a great way to get youth involved in tailoring, delivering, and evaluating public health programs.

History of Red Ribbon Week 

Enrique "Kiki" Camarena was a Drug Enforcement Administration Agent who was tortured and killed in Mexico in 1985.  In honor of Kiki's memory and his battle against illegal drugs, friends and neighbors began to wear red badges of satin.  

Parents then began to form coalitions using Camarena as their model while embracing his belief that one person can make a difference. These coalitions adopted the symbol of Camarena's memory, the Red Ribbon.  

Today, the Red Ribbon serves as a catalyst to mobilize communities to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities. 

Red Ribbon Week takes place each year from October 23 through 31st.  

Benefits of PPW Media Campaigns 

An ideal activity to include during Red Ribbon Week is implementing a ready-to-use media campaign, such as those provided by Prevention Plus Wellness (PPW). 

PPW offers four media campaigns to choose from, targeting alcohol (SPORT) marijuana, e-cigarette (Vaping) or opioid use prevention. 

The ready-to-implement Prevention Plus Wellness Media Campaigns are designed to correct drug use myths, misconceptions, and norms, increase awareness of substance use harm, media influences, improve knowledge of how to identify signs of use, provide positive youth and adult role models, enhance positive self-identity, increase youth self-regulation skills to set healthy behavior goals, and develop protective wellness lifestyles.

The content for the PPW campaigns were adapted from the evidence-based SPORT and InShape Prevention Plus Wellness motivational interventions and include information from essential evidence-informed sources, e.g., CDC. 

PPW Media Campaign banners, posters and press release can be used to announce and promote your campaign, while the remaining campaign items can be distributed throughout a targeted region to youth and adults or used to host community events. 

Social media posts and mini-videos are included to motivate youth complete an online health behavior screening survey and goal plan.  In addition, online Youth pretest and posttest surveys can be used to assess campaign outcomes.

Campaign materials are provided in digital downloads allowing you to make unlimited copies for your organization.  All materials can be used as is, or customized by including your organizations name, contact info, logo, local data, images, etc.  

The Prevention Plus Wellness theme “Living an Active & Fit Lifestyle” is used to emphasize a positive message of choosing and practicing healthy lifestyle habits while avoiding counterproductive and harmful marijuana use. 

However, the campaign theme, images and content can be tailored to fit your organization and population’s needs, including the 2023 Red Ribbon Week Theme “Be Kind to Your Mind-Live Drug Free.” 


Adding a ready-to-use media campaign addressing youth alcohol, cannabis, e-cigarette or opioid use prevention to your Red Ribbon Week, such as those provided by Prevention Plus Wellness, will not only increase your organization’s visibility and impact on improving the mental and physical health of youth in your region, but save you a tremendous amount of time and effort.

Learn more about Red Ribbon Week 2023:

Learn more about each of the four PPW Media Campaigns:
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