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

Meet The 2017 Red Ribbon Theme Winner

Posted on 03/16/2017 @ 10:01 PM

We recently announced the 2017 National Red Ribbon Theme, Your Future Is Key, So Stay Drug Free. Now, we are proud to announce the winner of the theme contest: Iris Yu, a student at Solon Middle School in Solon, Ohio.

The school will receive national recognition and $500 in Red Ribbon Theme merchandise from Nimco, Inc. In addition to the attention she is receiving from her school community, Iris is receiving a great deal of support from her family.

"Our whole family is very excited and proud of Iris, especially her little brother," said Wei Yu, Iris' mom. "This topic is important to me as it's important to everyone. Aside from all the social problems caused by drug abuse, as a parent, it’s just heartbreaking to see kids being victimized by drugs [when] they could have a bright future."

Iris, who entered along with hundreds of classmates thanks to the dedication of her media arts teacher Cheryl Holsapfel, didn’t think she was going to win but had a good time trying.

“I [had] fun trying to think of various slogans,” said Iris. “I think that drug prevention is important because [drug use] has been popularized by pop culture and the media. I came up with the theme by first considering what doing drugs would affect, and the obvious answer to me was your future. The rest of the words kind of just fell into place afterwards.”

Holsapfel participates each year in the contest as a way to talk with her students about drugs. All of her students enter the contest and have done so for the past few years. Holsapfel’s intended message clearly got through to Iris.

“Drugs not only affect your brain, but your future as well,” said Iris. “You don't get a second future. It's why you do a lot of the things you do…in hopes of having a good future.”

To Iris’ mom, her daughter’s message for her peers across America is clear.

"There are so many beautiful places you could go. There are unlimited possibilities for you to explore. So don't let drugs ruin it."

Stay tuned for the release of the 2017 Red Ribbon Planning Guide and other wonderful materials available at

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The 2017 Red Ribbon Theme Is Here!

Posted on 02/22/2017 @ 09:01 PM

We are so excited we can hardly contain ourselves. It's our pleasure to announce the 2017 National Red Ribbon Week theme: Your Future Is Key, So Stay Drug Free™.

The theme was created by a student at Solon Middle School in Solon, Ohio.

The school plans to recognize the student on Friday, February 24th, at which point we'll announce the name of the winner. We don't want to spoil the surprise!

The school will receive national recognition and $500 in Red Ribbon Theme merchandise from Nimco, Inc.

Stay tuned for the release of the 2017 Red Ribbon Planning Guide and other wonderful materials.

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Announcing the 2016 Red Ribbon Photo Contest Winners

By National Family Partnership on 12/02/2016 @ 11:59 PM

‘Tis the season for giving! Today, 20 creative teams across the nation found out they are winners of $1,000 each from the National Family Partnership and the Drug Enforcement Administration as part of the National Red Ribbon Week Photo Contest. The 10 winning families who decorated their homes and the 10 winning schools who decorated their campuses with this year’s Red Ribbon Week theme: “YOLO. Be Drug Free,” earn $1,000 each for their local schools and an iPad for the family or the person who entered on behalf of the school. The contest was part of the annual National Red Ribbon Week® celebration – the nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention campaign.

The contest, sponsored by the National Family Partnership (NFP) and co-sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), encouraged families and schools nationwide to decorate their homes and campuses with this year’s Red Ribbon Week theme, “YOLO. Be Drug Free™.” Contest participants uploaded their photos and then asked others to vote for their entry. The entries with the most votes in each of the 10 regions in each category (home entry and school entry) won the contest.

“An estimated 80 million people celebrate Red Ribbon Week each year,” says NFP President Peggy Sapp. “We designed the contest to involve families, schools, and communities in delivering the drug prevention message to children while promoting a healthy and drug-free lifestyle.”

Close to 100,000 votes were cast in support of the more than 400 contest entries. Money earned for winning the contest will go to drug education and prevention programs.

See all 2016 photo entries at

Red Ribbon Week began in 1985 after the abduction and murder of DEA Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. The first ever National Red Ribbon Week was organized by the National Family Partnership in 1988. NFP continues to sponsor the campaign for families, schools and communities across the nation each year. Since its inception, the campaign has touched millions of lives to promote and celebrate drug free living.

“Congratulations to all of the Red Ribbon Photo Contest participants,” said Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg. “This is a great way to spread the prevention message and educate students and families about drug abuse.”

School Entries

  • Region 1 - Braintree High School - Braintree, Massachusetts
  • Region 2 - Red Bank Middle School - Red Bank, New Jersey
  • Region 3 - Ingomar Middle School - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Region 4 - Orlando Science Elementary - Orlando, Florida
  • Region 5 - Allen East High School - Bluffton, Ohio
  • Region 6 - Milan Elementary School - Milan, New Mexico
  • Region 7 - Cameron R-I School District - Cameron, Missouri
  • Region 8 - Naples Elementary School - Vernal, Utah
  • Region 9 - Charles G. Emery Elementary School -Buena Park, California
  • Region 10 - Riley Creek School - Gold Beach, Oregon

ARCpoint Labs Winner

  • Air Base K-8 Center For International Education - Jeniffer Gude

Home Entries

  • Region 1 The Rivera Family - Paul R Baird Middle School - Ludlow, Massachusetts
  • Region 2 The Johnston Family - Geneseo Central School - Geneseo, New York
  • Region 3 The Spencer Family - Abingdon Elementary School - Gloucester County, Virginia
  • Region 4 The Trought Family - Grayson High School - Loganville, Georgia
  • Region 5 The McGovern Family - St. Eugene School - Chicago, Illinois
  • Region 6 The McDonald Family - Mountain Peak Elementary School - Midlothian, Texas
  • Region 7 The Paulson Family - Dora R-III - Dora, Missouri
  • Region 8 The Hejna Family - Gayville-Volin High School - Gayville, South Dakota
  • Region 9 The Oliva Family - Country Hills Elementary - Brea, California
  • Region 10 The Carino Family - North Valley High School - Grants Pass, Oregon

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Thank you for your participation

By National Family Partnership on 11/17/2016 @ 11:59 PM

The National Family Partnership (NFP) thanks all the families and schools who participated in the 2016 National Red Ribbon Photo Contest. We truly appreciate your involvement and your efforts to share the Red Ribbon message with others in your communities. The voting period is now over and winners will be announced December 2nd at

We can't wait to share the winners with you and recognize the outstanding achievements of so many families and schools across America.

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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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