Red Ribbon Week, which is Oct. 23-31, is a great time to talk to your kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Having a child in middle school, this is an important week for our family, though we have conversations regularly, as I want my children to feel comfortable coming to me with questions or concerns. It’s my goal to give my children the courage and ability to say “no” and walk away if they are ever faced with a situation involving drugs or alcohol.
The Red Ribbon Rally Capitol Kickoff event on Oct. 12 brings together students, educators and members of the public to address why drugs are harmful, motivate students to say no to drugs and create excitement around the commitment to live a healthy and drug-free life. Each year more than 1,000 Texas fifth and sixth graders pledge to remain drug-free at the Capitol Red Ribbon Rally.
The Annual National Red Ribbon Campaign began in 1985 in response to the murder of Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camerena. Parents and youths made a commitment to raise awareness of the destruction caused by drugs in America by wearing red ribbons as a symbol. Today, the Red Ribbon serves as a reminder for communities to educate youth and encourage their participation in prevention activities that are drug-free.
We all have the power to help kids grow up safe, healthy and drug free:
- Give your kids the freedom to ask questions. Conversations about drugs and alcohol can feel scary for parents. Lighten things up with a casual setting, and make sure your children know they can come to you with any concerns.
- Parents should regularly talk with their kids about the positive benefits of not using or abusing drugs and other substances, living a healthy life and making safe choices.
- Parents are a key influencer on their children’s decision to use drugs or other substances. Talk with them about making wise choices regarding drugs and alcohol.
- Remind your kids that when someone offers them drugs or alcohol they could simply say “ no thanks” or give a reason like “my parents would ground me forever.”
For more tips, parents can visit drugfreetexas.org or speak to their school counselor for assistance.