WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate has passed a resolution, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, that commemorates the Annual Red Ribbon Campaign, the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation, reaching millions of youth through Red Ribbon Week events.

Murkowski’s resolution, recognizing October 23-31 as Red Ribbon Week, passed the Senate on Monday by unanimous consent.


Red Ribbon Week is a national, week-long event commemorating the life of Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Enrique Camarena, who was killed in Mexico in the line of duty in 1985.  Shortly after his death, his friends launched “Camarena Clubs” in his hometown of Calexico, California.  In his honor, club members wore red ribbons and pledged to live drug-free lives.  The campaign quickly gained national prominence and in 1988 Congress proclaimed the first National Red Ribbon Week. 


“Red Ribbon Week memorializes Agent Camarena, and all those who have lost their lives in the war on drugs, by educating young people about the dangers of drug abuse, promoting drug-free activities and supporting everyone who has stood strong against illicit drugs,” Murkowski said in a prepared Senate floor statement. “The Red Ribbon that we will wear during Red Ribbon Week is a symbol of zero tolerance for illegal drug use and our commitment to help people, especially children, make the right life-decisions.”


 In Alaska, Red Ribbon Week is a statewide recognition involving thousands of school children and other supporters.  On October 27, the Alaska Red Ribbon Coalition, in conjunction with the Municipality of Anchorage, will host a Red Ribbon Week kickoff.  The Red Ribbon Coalition is comprised of the Anchorage School District, the Alaska State Troopers, the Anchorage Police Department, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Department of Justice.  Forty-three Boys & Girls Clubs across Alaska will help other Alaskan communities celebrate Red Ribbon Week throughout the State.


In addition, this year, the Red Ribbon Coalition, the Alaska National Guard, and the Iditarod Trail Committee are sponsoring the first ever Anchorage School District Idol whereby every junior high and high school in Anchorage will hold local talent competitions and select one act to move to a final competition.  The acts will be judged based, among other things, on their drug-free themes, and the final competition will be held as part of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race festivities in March 2009.  The plan is to broadcast the event to the students in all 50 states and across the globe who participate in the Iditarod Education Program, thus extending the reach of the 2008 Red Ribbon Week into 2009, and sharing Anchorage’s Red Ribbon Week anti-drug message and celebrations with the nation and the world.