ATLANTA – Making real life drug free was a reoccurring theme during the Governor's Red Ribbon awards ceremony. Today, the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities honored hundreds of Georgia students and organizations at the Woodruff Arts Center for their drug awareness activities during last October's Red Ribbon festivities. 

Governor Nathan Deal addressed participants via video conference to underscore the importance of the campaign and commend students for making 2012 a success. Commissioner Frank Berry recognized parents and teachers who attended the ceremony and noted the message of living a drug free life really starts with them.  

Keynote speaker Atlanta Falcon Jason Snelling told kids his motto has always been to stop before it starts. He encouraged students to walk away from situations that make them feel uncomfortable and talk to adults and peers about negative activities going on around them. "Continue to have the confidence to be able to say no because drugs have no place in your life," said Snelling.   

DBHDD staff gave out several awards recognizing outstanding efforts to promote “Real Life is Drug Free.” The categories are as follows:

Non School Organizations
The winner of non school organizations is the Council on Alcohol and Drugs. Bulloch Drug and Alcohol Council received honorable mention.  

Elementary School Category
The winner of the elementary school category is Ronald McNair Discovery Learning Academy. Bright Star and Hambrick Elementary Schools received honorable mention. 

Middle School Category
The winner of the middle school category is Barber Middle School. 

Every year an overall winner is awarded the Perpetual Trophy for outstanding efforts during Red Ribbon Week. This year’s overall winner was the Council on Alcohol and Drugs, who reached more than 43,000 people during their awareness campaign.

The next Red Ribbon kickoff event will take place during October 2013. 

The Council on Alcohol and Drugs hold the Perpetual Trophy and are joined by (from right to left) Travis Fretwell, Assistant Director for DBHDD’s Division of Addictive Diseases; Jason Snelling, Atlanta Falcons Running Back; Frank Berry, DBHDD Commissioner after being crowned the overall winners of the 2012 Red Ribbon Awards campaign. 

Hambrick Elementary Chorus performs for the Red Ribbons Ceremony.

Big Red and Jason Snelling congratulate raffle winner from Hambrick Elementary.

Program participants watch a slide show of Red Ribbon Week events from around the state.

Contact Information:

Kristie N. Swink,