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SAMHSA News - Volume XI, Number 4, 2003

Red Ribbon Week: Preventing Youth Substance Abuse

SAMHSA recently released a community action guide to support the National Family Partnership and community organizations nationwide in the October celebration of Red Ribbon Week. The annual event helps promote awareness of substance abuse prevention among youth.

"Red Ribbon Week is making important contributions to substance abuse prevention awareness in America," said SAMHSA Administrator Charles G. Curie, M.A., A.C.S.W. "We are proud to join the National Family Partnership to encourage parents and other adults to unite in raising drug-free youth."

The event honors the memory of a drug enforcement officer, Enrique Camarena, who was murdered in 1985. Red Ribbon Week encourages individuals, families, and communities to take a stand against the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs. The observance focuses on educating the public on the destructive effects of alcohol and drugs, and the health-positive alternatives that are available to youth and adults. This year, approximately 80 million people across the country participated in Red Ribbon Week and demonstrated their support for promoting healthy, drug-free lifestyles.

Cover of Red Ribbon Week Community Action GuideThe guide, Unite for a Drug Free World: A Call to Action for Parents, Schools, and Communities, contains a wealth of resources that can be used by parents, teachers, administrators, advocates, health educators, and others working to prevent substance abuse among young people. For example, the guide offers a fact sheet, talking points, a print-ready article, print and radio public service announcements, a sample media pitch letter, and a sample proclamation. The guide also provides practical tips for engaging the media in promoting Red Ribbon Week and ideas for shaping media coverage.

As part of Red Ribbon Week observances across the Nation, participants wear or display a red ribbon to symbolize zero tolerance for illegal drug use by youth and a commitment to substance abuse prevention. For Red Ribbon Week 2003, schools and community groups organized a variety of activities including contests, workshops, rallies, theatrical and musical performances, and other family-centered and educational events.

To order the community action guide, contact SAMHSA's National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at P.O. Box 2345, Rockville, MD 20847-2345. Telephone: 1 (800) 729-6686 (English and Spanish) or 1 (800) 487-4889 (TDD). For more information about Red Ribbon Week, visit the National Family Partnership's Web site at End of Article

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Inside This Issue

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    SAMHSA News - Volume XI, Number 4, 2003

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