Drug Awareness Week, also known as Red Ribbon Week, can be observed any week of the year. Creative ways to make Drug Awareness Week memorable for students include designing bulletin boards, wearing red, bringing guest speakers, showing relevant films and other media and fostering discussion groups.


The first Drug Awareness Week was in 1988, organized by the National Family Partnership in honor of a drug awareness pioneer, Enrique Camanara. (See Reference 2 below.) The week's purpose is to educate and remind participants of the dangers of drug addiction, available resources for help, and the importance of saying no to illicit drug use.

Bulletin Boards

Bright boards in popular student gathering places can feature the week's events, statistics about drug abuse, and images of lungs or noses damaged by smoking or snorting drugs. Place red ribbons on the wall around the board to catch students' attention.

Wear Red

Since Drug Awareness Week started, participants have worn red ribbons to show support. (See Reference 3 below.) Give red ribbons to students and school personnel. Send extra ribbons home to give to parents or siblings. Designate one weekday as "Wear Red Day."

Brought to you by Sciencing.com

Brought to you by Sciencing.com

Guest Speakers

Guest speakers can share first-hand experiences with students. Check if your police department includes D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) officers trained to teach about drug use. Ask local clinics or drug counselors if medical personnel are available for assemblies or classroom presentations.


Films, articles, and music help make Drug Awareness Week meaningful. The Foundation for a Drug-Free World offers free DVDs and information kits for schools. (See Reference 1 below.) Play a popular song or read an article depicting drug use and discuss the myths or reality-checks the piece illuminates.


Put students in groups of three to five. Give them five-minute discussion questions about the week's activities. Questions can be factual, assessing what students remember, and emotional, discussing students' fears or hopes. At the end of each discussion, ask one student per group to report on their conclusions, questions or ideas.