Red Ribbon Week – 10/23 to 10/31

From October 23rd to October 31st is Red Ribbon Week. This week is dedicated to helping youths understand substance misuse as well as empower caregivers with knowledge and resources to have better conversations in the home about substance use.

The first Red Ribbon Week was created by The National Family Partnership, formerly the National Federation of Parents for Drug-Free Youth, to advocate and educate parents about drugs. This was in response to the murder of US DEA Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in 1985 in Guadalajara, Mexico by Caro Quintero, co-founder of the now-disintegrated Guadalajara Cartel. Agent Camarena’s friends and neighbors started to wear badges of red satin to honor his memory after his untimely passing. Parents used Kiki as a role model for their coalitions to show a single person can make a difference. In 1988, the first Red Ribbon Week was held to commemorate Agent Camerena and educate about drugs. Today, the Red Ribbon serves as a catalyst to mobilize communities to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities (


This year’s theme is: Be Kind To Your Mind. Live Drug Free.

This theme was chosen because people every day make the choice to be their best selves by living drug free and establishing new healthy habits. For Nicasa Behavioral Health Services this is an important message for staff, community members, stakeholders, donors, current and former clients in recovery, and individuals across Lake County. Our Prevention Department works hard to educate children in 3 elementary schools (Wauconda, IL) 10 middle schools (Waukegan, Mundelein, Wauconda and Island Lake), and youth engaged in Community Youth Network’s (CYN) mentorship program with an evidence-based curriculum, Too Good For Drugs, on substance misuse. Too Good For Drugs works with children to develop skills for making healthy choices, building positive friendships, developing self-efficacy, communicating effectively, and resisting peer pressure and influence. It also works on developing character skills like: setting reachable goals, making responsible decisions, bonding with pro-social others, and identifying and managing emotions. The Prevention Department also organizes a “Stay Out of my Room” interactive display to educate parents and caregivers on where their children could be hiding substances and what do be on the lookout for. Nicasa also assists the Mundelein STAND-UP Task Force and Choose Your Path (Wauconda, IL) in providing consistent drug-free messaging.

During Red Ribbon Week our Prevention Department will be providing education and prevention services at the following places:

  • From October 23rd to October 31st, our Youth Advisory Board will have tables setup during lunch periods at Wauconda High School. At these tables they will have red strips of paper and will be asking fellow students to write down why they decide to remain drug free. The red slips of paper will then be made into paper chains and be displayed throughout the high school that week.
  • Tuesday October 24th, the Youth Advisory Board will be going to Wauconda Middle School to provide a Red Ribbon Week presentation to their entire 8th grade class. The presentation will focus on Red Ribbon Week, Prevention, and reasons the 8th graders should join the club when they come to the high school next year.
  • On October 25th, we invite everyone in the community wear red to support Red Ribbon Week. Please send us your stories and pictures to so we can share them on social media. You can also use hashtags: #BeKindToYouMindLiveDrugFree, #RedRibbonWeek, #Prevention, and #DrugFreeAmerica on social media.
  • Monday October 31st, Stand Up Mundelein will be at Mundelein High School for Boo-Bash. They will be handing out pledges and Red Ribbon material on staying Drug Free.

Here are some tips on talking with your teen about substance use:

If you are finding your child continually uses substances, even after talking with them and setting firm boundaries on the matter, if may be time for additional help. It is important to remember Red Ribbon Week is not only about awareness, but also advocacy and resources. Nicasa is committed to a drug-free youth. We are available to help assess the seriousness of the matter and help determine an appropriate level of care for children 12-years-old and older.

Call 847-546-6450 or email for more information about our youth services.

For more information on Red Ribbon Week, visit RedRibbon.Org

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