In response to the murder of DEA agent Enrique Camarena, angered parents and youth in communities across the country began wearing Red Ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to raise awareness of the killing and destruction caused by drugs in America. Enrique (Kiki) Camarena was a Drug Enforcement Administration agent who was tortured and killed in Mexico in 1985. In 1988, The National Family Partnership sponsored the first National Red Ribbon Celebration. Today, the Red Ribbon serves as a catalyst to mobilize communities to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities.
The Red Ribbon Campaign is a media and activity-driven strategy aimed at building general population (universal) awareness of the importance of a drug-free lifestyle. Each year, schools and communities are encouraged to develop messages and activities to demonstrate their commitment to living drug-free lifestyles.