Thursday, October 21, 2010

Red Ribbon Week

Red Ribbon Week, held annually for the past 25 years during the last week in October, is a nationwide effort to celebrate healthy, drug-free living and to motivate youth across the country to choose to live drug-free. The week serves as a great opportunity to create dialogue with youth, to mobilize your community, and to honor law enforcement officers who work eve

Engaging youth, parents, and leaders in your community during this year's Red Ribbon Week and bringing awareness to the dangers and consequences of drug use is more important than ever. Several recent studies, including the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, indicate perceptions among youth about dangers of substance use are down, while substance use is up.

The NSDUH study also showed that prevalence of substance use was lower among those youth who reported having seen or heard drug or alcohol prevention messages in the past year from sources outside of school than among those who reported having no such exposure (7.4 percent versus 10.5 percent, respectively).

This finding highlights the importance of drug prevention programs such as those operated by Drug Free Communities coalitions and the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, as well as the importance of leveraging Red Ribbon Week to engage youth in drug prevention activities. Hundreds of organizations across the country use Red Ribbon Week to bring drug prevention messaging to their communities through events and activities. Van Buren Community High School JEL/YLC members are doing just this. They will be providing a Red Ribbon Week presentation to elementary students at the Douds Elementary center on Friday, October 29th. Their message will be one encouraging students not to get caught in the web of drug, alcohol and tobacco use. The members will be asking students to sign a drug free pledge wall and providing them with an incentive for participating in the event. Activities will also be held in the after school enrichment program.

Youth in the community are encouraged to participate in the Above the Influence "Influence Project," during Red Ribbon Week. The "Influence Project" is a new initiative from the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign aimed at getting teens to share their insights about the positive and negative influences they see around them and their approach to "staying above it." Teens can go to the Above the Influence Heat Map to share the influences in their lives and see what other teens in the community and across the country are saying - online at

The three communities with the highest number of entries on the "Influence Map" will receive a special promotional event from the Above the Influence team in their hometown. Phoenix, Ariz. and Houston, Texas were the first two communities selected. The third and final community will be selected on Oct. 31, 2010.

Take time to talk to your teen about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and tobacco. For information on talking to your teens check out the website:

For more information on Red Ribbon Week you may contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or via email at info@vbsafecoalition.comry day to keep communities safe from drugs and the associated consequences.

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