Drug Awareness Red Ribbon Week Header
Drug Awareness Home Page
 
INFORMATION avenue
Substance Abuse Training Page
Drug-Free Workplace Page
Treatment Page
Family Support Page
 
NEWS on drugs
American Forces Press Service Page
U.S. Navy News Page
U.S. Air Force News Page
U.S. Army News Page
U.S. Marine Corps News Page
U.S. Coast Guard News Page
National Institute on Drug Abuse Page
Department of Health and Human Resources Page
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Page

 

 

Media Operations Logo

 

The Story Behind the Symbol

Enrique "Kiki" Camarena grew up in a dirt-floored house with hopes and dreams of making a difference. Camarena worked his way through college, served in the Marines and became a police officer.Picture of Enrique "Kiki" Camarena

When he decided to join the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, his mother tried to talk him out it. "I can't not do this," he told her. "I'm only one person, but I want to make a difference."

The DEA sent Camarena to work undercover in Mexico investigating a major drug cartel believed to include officers in the Mexican army, police and government. On Feb. 7, 1985, the 37-year-old Camarena left his office to meet his wife for lunch. Five men appeared at the agent's side and shoved him in a car. One month later, Camarena's body was found in a shallow grave. He had been tortured to death.

In honor of Camarena's memory and his battle against illegal drugs, friends and neighbors began to wear red badges of satin. Parents, sick of the destruction of alcohol and other drugs, had begun forming coalitions. Some of these new coalitions took Camarena as their model and embraced his belief that one person can make a difference. These coalitions also adopted the symbol of Camarena's memory the red ribbon.

The National Family Partnership organized the first Red Ribbon Campaign in 1988. Since that time, the campaign has reached millions of U.S. children. red ribbon icon

Source: Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse

TOP
button for previous page