The last full week in October is National Red Ribbon Week. What exactly is it and how did it get started?
It is an ideal way for people and communities to unite and take a visible stand against drugs. Show your personal commitment to a drug-free lifestyle through the symbol of the Red Ribbon.
WHY? The Red Ribbon Campaign was started when drug traffickers in Mexico City murdered DEA agent Kiki Camarena in 1985. This began the continuing tradition of displaying Red Ribbons as a symbol of intolerance towards the use of drugs. The mission of the Red Ribbon Campaign is to present a unified and visible commitment towards the creation of a DRUG-FREE AMERICA. The Red Ribbon Campaign is now the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation reaching millions of young people during Red Ribbon Week in October each year.
Here are some ACTIVITIES FOR CLASSROOM TEACHERS
1. Testimonial Letter Write a testimonial, a sort of celebrity endorsement, telling other students at your school the reasons you support zero tolerance of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) among youth. Your goal is to come up with a letter that convinces your readers to participate with you in campaigning for the welfare of youth making good choices about healthy versus risky behaviors. Make the letter convincing — so think about the kinds of things that make a testimonial believable. You don’t want your readers to think you’re writing because you have to. You want them to understand that you WANT to share your beliefs. Think about the things that will ring true and the things that will sound fake. Be sure your letter rings true.
2. Children’s Book Write a children’s book for younger students (K-5). Encourage your readers to avoid drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or violence (don’t try to deal with all four in one short book!) Explain the ideas behind being alcohol, tobacco, and drug free. Use language and descriptions younger children will understand. The scientific explanations and other reasons to avoid drugs, tobacco and alcohol that are given to teenagers can be harder for younger students to understand. Focus on a particular kind of abuse and explain some of the main ideas in ways that will help your audience understand why you urge them to avoid substance abuse.
3. Describing Abuse Your job is to write a “place” description, but the place you describe is one that you and you alone construct. Specifically, if substance abuse were a place, where would it be? Don’t simply describe a place where you think people might abuse alcohol or drugs — describe an imaginary, abstract place that represents substance abuse. What would it look like? Sound like? Smell like? Taste like? Feel like? What objects, plants, or animals are there? What’s missing? What things and sounds would you never hear? Your goal is to describe the place so your readers will understand why you would urge them not to visit. Remember it’s an imaginary place though!
4. Analyze an Ad Find four to five printed advertisements for alcohol or tobacco, and analyze the ads for the hidden messages they send out. How are they attempting to persuade people to use their products? What are the advertisers suggesting that you’ll gain or have if you do as the people shown in their ads? What stereotypes are the ads exploiting (and why)? In what ways might their persuasive techniques apply to people your age? Are there aspects to the ads that seem to target teens? Write a paper that analyzes the ads that you’ve gathered with the goal of telling others how to read the ads — show them the hidden messages and unravel the underlying “lies” that appear there.
5. I-Search on Substance Abuse Find a detail or fact in a DARE, MADD or similar document (or at a Substance Abuse Prevention Website see list below.)
6. Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper urging readers to support a drug free culture for all youth in our area, outlining the reasons that you support the ideas and efforts, and the things your school is doing. A good letter will do much more than simply say, “Just say no.” Write a persuasive piece that makes your perspective on the project clear.
Partnership for a Drug-Free America www.drugfree.org www.timetotalk.org
Parents -The Anti-Drug http://www.theantidrug.com/
(Listen, Educate, Ask, Discuss) is a program designed to help parents talk to their children about underage drinking. http://www.parentslead.org/
Stop Medicine Abuse www.StopMedicineAbuse.org
Stop Underage Drinking
(Three downloadable PDF Action Guides based on the Surgeon General’s Call to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking.One for families, one for communities and one for educators.) www.stopalcoholabuse.gov
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
(NREPP has developed a searchable database of interventions for the prevention and treatment of mental and substance use disorders to help people, agencies, and organizations implement programs and practices in their communities.) http://nrepp.samhsa.gov
National Institute on Drug Abuse
The Science of Drug Abuse & Addiction http://drugabuse.gov
National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens
The Science Behind Drug Abuse http://teens.drugabuse.gov/
Office of National Drug Policy http://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp
Get Smart About Drugs
A DEA Resource for Parents http://www.getsmartaboutdrugs.com/