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Red Ribbon Week

Event Date: 
Tuesday, October 23, 2018 (All day) to Wednesday, October 31, 2018 (All day)

This year's National Red Ribbon Week theme is Life Is Your Journey, Travel Drug Free.

The purpose of the Red Ribbon Campaign is to present a visible commitment to a safe, healthy and drug-free lifestyle. The campaign is designed to accomplish the following:

  • to create awareness concerning the problems related to the use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs
  • to support the decision to live a healthy, drug-free lifestyle

Red Ribbon Week began in 1988 in honor of DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) Agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena, who was kidnapped and killed in Mexico in February of 1985. Agent Camarena, then 37, had uncovered a multi-billion dollar drug scam in which he suspected officers of the Mexican Army, police forces and government. As he left his office one day, five men appeared at his side and kidnapped him. His body was found one month later in a shallow grave; he had been tortured and beaten.

The first Red Ribbon Week was proclaimed in 1988 by the U.S. Congress in support of Agent Camarena and the cause he gave his life for - combating drugs. The week is marked by the wearing of a red ribbon to send the message: Live drug-free!

SADD chapters are encouraged to celebrate Red Ribbon Week to symbolize their commitment to a healthy, drug-free lifestyle and to create awareness of the problems related to the use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs. To view the 2018 Red Ribbon Planning Guide, please click here

Red Ribbon Week will take place October 23-31, 2018. 


Rick Birt
President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Richard “Rick” Birt joined the SADD National staff in June 2014 as the Development Officer and, in 2015, became the Director of Strategic Partnerships. In 2016, he was promoted to serve as Executive Vice President. Now as the Acting CEO, Rick leads national operations and development efforts, playing a critical role in managing all national programs and field relations while fostering relationships between the organization and external partners. Rick also manages the SADD National Youth Leadership Councils – the Student Leadership Council (SLC) and College Advisory Council (CAC), and oversees the planning and execution of the annual SADD National Conference on Youth Health & Safety. Rick has years of experience working in the prevention field. Previously, he worked with Impact Teen Drivers to support peer-to-peer-based traffic safety education and training as the Midwest Director of Operations. Rick also has significant experience as a grant writer and has worked with many state agencies on youth health and safety and leadership development. Rick has been deeply involved with SADD, from his selection as the 2009-2010 SADD National Student of the Year to his service as the Ohio SADD State Contact. Rick loves to give back to the community. As such, he was elected to his local Board of Education at Northwestern Schools in Springfield, Ohio leading numerous community and state-wide advocacy efforts with the Ohio School Board Association and the National School Board Association. Rick holds a Bachelor’s degree in political science from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and is currently in the process of obtaining his MBA in Non-Profit Administration from the University of Notre Dame.