Children of parents who talk to their teens regularly about drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those who don't, yet only a quarter of teens report having these conversations.

Red Ribbon Campaign ® Blog

NFP Announces Special Bonus Prize In Red Ribbon Photo Contest, Courtesy Of ARCpoint Labs

By Amy Goldstein on 09/29/2016 @ 11:04 AM

NFP is excited to announce that through a generous donation from ARCpoint Labs, an extra $1,000 prize will be awarded to a school entry with the most votes in one of the over 100 ARCpoint Labs franchises across the US. To see if your school is eligible for this special bonus prize, click here to find out if there’s an ARCpoint Labs location near you. Find out more about the contest here.

ARCpoint Labs is a full-service national third-party provider/administrator providing Accurate, Reliable, and Confidential drug, alcohol, DNA and steroid testing, employment/background and wellness screening and corporate wellness programs. The company is passionate about doing everything they can to reduce drug abuse, including offering the following “ARCpointers” for parents, guardians and educators in their local communities during Red Ribbon Week.

10 Tips To Prevent Drug Use Among Children

  1. Trust The Senses: The easiest way to detect if a child has been using drugs is to rely on the senses. Some drugs will leave behind an odor. Teenagers will often times seek to mask the scent with breath mints, cologne/perfume, or sprays. Drug use can cause a change in speaking patterns too. Signs of drug use may include communicating less, speaking slower or faster, or noticeably slurring. Many drugs will cause dilation of pupils, red or watery eyes, and a change in posture. Finally, drastic changes in mood after being out with friends may be a sign that drug activity took place.

    Tip: Be present and focused during interactions with children and teens. Know their preferred deodorant, cologne/perfume, type of gum, etc. Open up dialogue with something positive such as, “That’s a nice new scent - what is that?”
  2. If They Check Out, Check In: One of the prime signs of drug use is a decline in participation in activities and a departure from established behavior patterns. During the school year, this can mean skipping classes or even a decline in academic performance. During the summer, it may mean avoiding time with family or their usual groups of friends. Many teenagers naturally experience change in mood, personality, and need more “alone time” during these formative years, but if there is a drastic disconnect between family, friends, and formerly regular activities, then it may likely be time to open up dialogue.

    Tip: Be respectful of the time that children need alone, but as a parent, make sure to allocate time for them. Find opportunities to spend time with them in an environment where they are comfortable (dinner, sporting event, fishing trip, visit to the mall) and let conversation develop naturally.
  3. Surf Their Social Media: Teens are very likely to get upset if a parent “monitors” them on social media, but it does offer increased access to indicators of potential drug or alcohol use. Look for statements that seem suspicious, changes in the type or tone of their posts, or posting of pictures, song lyrics, or video clips that appear to have connection to drug culture.

    Tip: Establish requirements to connect on all social media platforms that they join from an early age. Get educated on the various social media platforms available and the “unwritten rules” that govern the way people engage. Take an interest in the opinions or patterns of expression and use them as a way to connect outside of social media. Be careful not to embarrass them by too much interaction on social media; they may shut down this and other important lines of communication, or even look for other more discreet means to communicate with friends.
  4. Be Wary of New Kids on The Block: The introduction of new friends or an interest in spending time with new or different peer groups could be a sign of drug use. It is of course natural for many teenagers to develop a variety of different friends. They certainly may change their interests from year to year - and the type of friends that they associate with as a result. But, it’s important to know whom they spend time with, and what home situations exist within the households of these friends. Additionally, teenage romantic relationships can often come with pressures to adopt certain interests, behaviors and opinions, including drug experimentation or use.

    Tip: Ask questions about new friends and demonstrate a genuine interest in the types of people with whom they are spending time. Relate to them by sharing personal stories about friends from middle school, high school, and college. Take the time to learn who new friends are, and ask about their parents and home situation. Be engaged in activities, organizations, or events that give access to the parents of friends.
  5. Listen for Signs That They Want to Talk: When establishing a relationship of open dialogue and understanding, children might feel uncomfortable discussing situations or relationships where drugs have been introduced. Look for comments that may reveal a desire to have a deeper chat about the implications of drug experimentation or concerns about social or romantic impacts of responses to drug introduction.

    Tip: Ask questions. Find times to just listen and offer opportunities to discuss issues related to drug use. Look for issues and situations in the news, pop culture events, TV shows, music, and movies that allow you to open up dialogue about issues related to drug use and abuse.
  6. Look for Teachable Moments: As you’re going about your day, seek out opportunities to point out real life situations that can be used to spark an educational conversation. For example, witnessing a group of teens drinking or using drugs can be a time when a parent can discuss why it is wrong and how to address similar situations in which they may find themselves in the future. Also, news headlines, movie and TV plotlines, and music are all examples of places you can find examples to open a dialogue.

    Tip: If you notice something going on in your neighborhood while in the presence of your teen, take this time to discuss the negative effects that drugs and alcohol can have on your body and relationships. You can also use news stories as a way to provide a real life example of what can go wrong, as well as open up discussions based on things seen on TV or movies, or in the lyrics of songs.
  7. Find the Right Time to Talk and Come with a Plan: Make sure the conversation is focused between you and your teen. Know what you are going to say and establish what you want to accomplish from the conversation.

    Tip: Choose times that are already designated for serious discussion or reflection. For example, after dinner or before bed are times when teens are starting to wind down and have fewer distractions.
  8. Keep the Conversation Positive: When talking to your children about drugs, make sure they are aware that it is coming from a place of love and not a scare tactic. By presenting it in a positive manner, they will know they can talk to you about the topic.

    Tip: Focus on your concern for their health and well-being. Tell them you are trying to help them make good decisions by sharing information that they might not already know.
  9. Don’t Come with a Solution, Have Your Teen Think of One: When your teen comes to you with a question or brings up a real life incident, don’t immediately accuse or reprimand. Have your teen assess the situation and come up with a way the situation could have been handled differently.

    Tip: As a way to maintain a comfortable environment, ask things like, “What do you think should have been done differently?” Also, be sure to show understanding and say, “That sounds like a difficult situation. How did you feel about it?” Ask them things that give them room to participate.
  10. Practice Patience: If it comes to a point in the conversation where you can’t speak positively, leave the situation and come back to it the next day.

    Tip: Listen with respect and show encouragement. Repeat and summarize what your teen said to give you time to process and come up with the best way to handle the situation. Respond to the conversation with something like, “So what you’re saying is…”

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Have You Voted For Your Favorite?

By National Family Partnership on 09/15/2016 @ 11:04 AM

The National Family Partnership (NFP) invites people across America to vote in its 6th Annual National Red Ribbon Week Photo Contest. Voting takes place through November 17th.The contest, which is co-sponsored by the DEA, has been held in conjunction with the 31st Annual Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31).

Students, families and schools decorated their homes and campuses with this year's Red Ribbon Theme: YOLO. Be Drug Free and a double looped red ribbon. Then, they snapped a photo of their decoration and entered them into the contest.

Now, they need your help with winning by obtaining your votes! This year, $20,000 will be awarded to schools in ten regions across the country.

So what are you waiting for? Vote for your favorite entry now!

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Red Ribbon Week 2016 Launches 6th Annual Photo Contest: "YOLO. Be Drug Free"

By Amy Goldstein on 09/15/2016 @ 11:04 AM

The National Family Partnership (NFP) invites families and schools across America to participate in its 6th Annual National Red Ribbon Week Photo Contest. Entries will be accepted starting October 1. The contest, which is co-sponsored by the DEA, will be held in conjunction with the 31st Annual Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31).

“Students will spread the Red Ribbon Campaign prevention message in their homes, neighborhoods and schools as part of this contest,” said NFP President Peggy Sapp. “Parents and schools can use this fun and engaging opportunity to educate children about the dangers of drug use while they decorate their homes and schools using this year’s theme, “YOLO. Be Drug Free.”

Entries will be accepted through Nov. 2 and the winners will be announced on December 2.This year, $20,000 will be awarded to schools in ten regions across the country.

“We are pleased to support the Red Ribbon Photo Contest,” said DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg. “During Red Ribbon Week, we celebrate drug-free lives and appreciate the commitment of families and educators to promote healthy choices.”

Check Out This Video About The Contest

Here's how to enter:

  • Students and families decorate their home’s front door, mailbox or fence with a double-looped red ribbon and the theme, “YOLO. Be Drug Free.”
  • Schools (K-12) may decorate their school campus with a double-looped red ribbon and the theme, “YOLO. Be Drug Free.” Decorations should be in a visible location on the school campus.
  • Take a photo with your decoration and upload it to RedRibbon.org/contest October 1 (12:00 am ET) to November 2 (11:59pm ET). You must be 18 years or older to upload the photo and can do so from any desktop or mobile device.
  • Ask family and friends to vote for your entry beginning November 3 (12:00am ET) to November 17 (11:59pm ET). The winners will be announced December 2.
  • 10 Families in the Home Decoration category with the most votes in each region will win an iPad for the family and $1,000 to be used towards drug prevention at a K-12 school of their choosing.
  • 10 schools in the School Decoration category with the most votes in each region will win an iPad (for the school employee or PTA member who entered on behalf of the school) and $1,000 to be used towards drug prevention at the school.

Learn more and enter at www.redribbon.org/contest.

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New Red Ribbon Week Curriculum Ideas

By Amy Goldstein on 09/13/2016 @ 12:34 PM

Looking for Red Ribbon Week classroom activities?

We've got you covered! Check out our new Red Ribbon Week curriculum ideas for all grade levels at www.redribbon.org/curriculum.

Remember, Red Ribbon Week is an awareness campaign and it is also truly wonderful opportunity to introduce research based prevention activities in your classroom and school.

Red Ribbon Week curriculum resources include:

  • Interactive Activities for grades K-12, including videos, lesson plans and more
  • Art & Drama ideas
  • Health & Science activities
  • History & Social Studies projects
  • Language Arts activities
  • Math activities and more!

We hope you enjoy the list of ideas we've compiled. We encourage you to reach out to us if you have additional activity ideas to suggest!

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2016 Red Ribbon Social Media Tools

By Amy Goldstein on 09/01/2016 @ 03:34 PM

Virtual Red Ribbon Campaign Tools

Share your support for Red Ribbon Week with your friends and followers! Together, we can send a clear message across America. All you have to do to participate is tweet or post on Facebook with any or all of the suggested language below to spread the word about Red Ribbon Week: See the examples below, copy the language you want to use on your blog or social networking site and start spreading the message! We also encourage you to take a photo of your favorite drug-free activities and post on Instagram with #redribbonweek and #yolobedrugfree.

Sample Facebook Posts

  • Yolo. Be Drug Free. – Celebrate Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31).
  • It’s Red Ribbon Week and I am taking a stand against drugs. Join me. Take the pledge: www.redribbon.org/pledge
  • Today, I’m honoring Kiki Camarena, a DEA agent who died while fighting substance abuse. Join me in celebrating Red Ribbon Week 2016. Take the pledge: www.redribbon.org/pledge
  • Today, I'm joining teens, parents, teachers, and other citizens across America in celebrating Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31), the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation.
  • Join me in celebrating Red Ribbon Week. Our children have the right to grow up drug free – and we have the responsibility to make that happen. Take the pledge: www.redribbon.org/pledge
  • I’m entering the Red Ribbon Photo Contest to win an iPad and $1,000 for my school. You can enter too at www.redribbon.org/contest
  • I’m a teacher who believes in a drug free future for my students. Join me in celebrating Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31)
  • I’m a parent who believes in a drug free future for my children. Join me in celebrating Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31).

Sample Tweets

  • Yolo. Be Drug Free. Celebrate #RedRibbonWeek (October 23-31). #youonlyliveonce #yolobedrugfree
  • It’s Red Ribbon Week and I am taking a stand against drugs. Join me. Take the pledge: www.redribbon.org/pledge. #RedRibbonWeek #yolobedrugfree
  • Today, I’m honoring Kiki Camarena, a DEA agent who died while fighting substance abuse. Join me. Take the pledge: www.redribbon.org/pledge . #RedRibbonWeek
  • Today, I'm joining teens, parents, teachers, and other citizens across America in celebrating Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31), the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation. #RedRibbonWeek
  • Join me in celebrating #RedRibbonWeek. Our children have the right to grow up drug free – and we have the responsibility to make that happen. #yolobedrugfree
  • Take the pledge: www.redribbon.org/pledge. #RedRibbonWeek #yolobedrugfree
  • I’m entering the Red Ribbon Photo Contest to win an iPad and $1,000 for my school. You can enter too at www.redribbon.org/contest. #RedRibbonWeek
  • I’m a teacher who believes in a drug free future for my students. Join me in celebrating Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31). #redribbonweek #yolobedrugfree
  • I’m a parent who believes in a drug free future for my children. Join me in celebrating Red Ribbon Week (October 23-31). #redribbonweek #yolobedrugfree

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