DEA Red Ribbon Campaign Honors Fallen Agent (Learn More, Videos)

DEA Special Agent Enrique
DEA Special Agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena who served as a Marine, was committed to fighting illegal drugs entering the US, and was abducted and brutally murdered in 1985 at the age of 37.

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will kick off its annual Red Ribbon Campaign, the nation’s largest drug prevention effort, on October 23.

The National Red Ribbon Campaign began after drug traffickers in Mexico tortured and brutally murdered Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in March 1985.

Red Ribbon Week is officially celebrated nationally from October 23-31; however, communities and school districts nationwide hold events throughout the month.

The Red Ribbon Campaign is dedicated to helping to preserve Special Agent Camarena’s memory and further the cause for which he gave his life – the fight against the violence of drug crime and the misery of addiction.

By gathering together in special events and wearing red ribbons during the last week in October, Americans from all walks of life demonstrate their opposition to drugs.

(The Life and Legacy of Enrique Kiki Camarena. Courtesy of the Camarena Foundation and YouTube)

Red Ribbon Week started as a local effort in Camarena’s hometown of Calexico, California, when former Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Camarena’s high school friend, Henry Lozano, created Camarena Clubs to keep Kiki’s memory alive.

The National Family Partnership turned Red Ribbon Week into a national drug awareness campaign, an eight-day event proclaimed by the U.S. Congress and chaired by then President and Mrs. Reagan.

Approximately 80 million people participate in Red Ribbon events every year.

The 2017 National Red Ribbon Rally was held on Tuesday, October 17 for DEA and other federal employees, drug abuse prevention partners, and members of the military.

The guest speaker for this year’s Red Ribbon Rally was Geneva “Mika” Camarena, widow of Special Agent Kiki Camarena and president of the Kiki Camarena Foundation.

During the rally, Acting Administrator Robert Patterson recognized the winners of the 2017 DEA Community Drug Prevention Awards and the 2017 Red Ribbon Bookmark contest winners.

In addition to the rally, DEA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is sponsoring their 2nd Annual Red Ribbon Week Campus Video PSA Contest.

(After the torture and brutal murder of one of their agents, the DEA intensifies its international hunt for drug lord Juan Matta-Ballesteros. Courtesy of American Heroes Channel and YouTube. Posted on Sep 29, 2015)

To learn more, visit

DEA is also a co-sponsor to the National Family Partnership’s 7th Annual Red Ribbon Photo Contest. For more information, go to

For a toolkit with Red Ribbon materials and more information, visit the Red Ribbon Campaign page on

(Former head of the now-defunct Guadalajara cartel, Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, is sentenced to 37 years for the 1985 murder of DEA Agent Enrique Camarena. Courtesy of The Los Angeles Times and YouTube. Posted on Aug 25, 2017)

Resolution of the United States Congress

The U.S. House of Representatives recently introduced a resolution to mark the significance of Red Ribbon Week.

The Congressional proclamation, offered by U.S. Reps. Ann McLane Kuster and Tom MacArthur, reads as follows:

Supporting the goals and ideals of Red Ribbon Week during the period of October 23 through October 31, 2017.

  • Whereas the Red Ribbon Campaign was started to commemorate the service of Enrique “Kiki” Camarena;
  • Whereas on February 7, 1985, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent Camarena was leaving his Guadalajara office to meet his wife for lunch when four individuals forced him inside a car and sped off;
  • Whereas Special Agent Camarena was subsequently tortured at length and then murdered by members of the local drug cartel;
  • Whereas the Red Ribbon Campaign was officially started by the National Family Partnership in 1988 to preserve the memory of Special Agent Camarena and further the cause for which he gave his life;
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent Camarena
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent Camarena
  • Whereas the Red Ribbon Campaign is the most longstanding drug prevention program, bringing drug awareness to millions of people in the United States each year;
  • Whereas State Governors and attorneys general, the National Family Partnership, parent teacher associations, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Young Marines, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and hundreds of other organizations throughout the United States annually celebrate Red Ribbon Week during the period of October 23 through October 31;
  • Whereas the objective of Red Ribbon Week is to promote the creation of drug-free communities through drug prevention efforts, education programs, parental involvement, and community-wide support;
  • Whereas reducing the demand for controlled substances would curtail lethal addictions and overdoses;
  • Whereas reducing the demand for controlled substances would reduce the violence associated with drug trafficking, including but not limited to murders and torture;
  • Whereas according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2016 an estimated 28,600,000 Americans, or 10.6 percent of the population aged 12 and older, used illicit drugs within the past month;
  • Whereas drug abuse is one of the major challenges to securing a safe and healthy future for people and families in the United States;
  • Whereas drug abuse and alcohol abuse contribute to domestic violence and sexual assault and place children at risk;
  • Whereas although public awareness of illicit drug use is increasing, emerging drug threats and growing epidemics demand attention, with particular focus on the nonmedical use of prescription drugs and synthetic drugs;
  • Whereas the majority of teenagers abusing prescription drugs get the drugs from family, friends, and the home medicine cabinet;
  • Whereas the Drug Enforcement Administration will host a National Take Back Day on October 28, 2017, for the public to safely dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs that can lead to accidental poisoning, overdose, and abuse;
  • Whereas synthetic drugs, including those popularly known as “K2” or “Spice”, have acknowledged dangerous health effects and have become especially popular among teens and young adults;
  • Whereas in 2015, poison centers across the United States responded to approximately 7,779 calls related to synthetic drugs;
  • Whereas the number of people reporting current heroin use nearly tripled between 2007 (161,000) and 2016 (475,000), according to the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH);
  • Whereas fentanyl and its analogues have been devastating communities and families at an unprecedented rate;
  • Whereas according to the DEA National Forensic Laboratory Information System (“NFLIS”), from January 2013 through December 2016, a total of 50,440 fentanyl reports were identified by Federal, State, and local forensic laboratories;
  • Whereas the presence of fentanyl has also posed a hazard to police officers and agents;
  • Whereas the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health data revealed approximately 584,000 adolescents had a marijuana use disorder; and
  • Whereas parents, young people, schools, businesses, law enforcement agencies, religious institutions and faith-based organizations, service organizations, senior citizens, medical and military personnel, sports teams, and individuals throughout the United States will demonstrate their commitment to healthy, productive, and drug-free lifestyles by wearing and displaying red ribbons during this week-long celebration:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives—(1)

  1. Supports the goals and ideals of Red Ribbon Week
  2. Encourages children, teens, and other individuals to choose to live drug-free lives, and
  3. Encourages the people of the United States to promote the creation of drug-free communities and to participate in drug prevention activities to show support for healthy, productive, and drug-free lifestyles.

(Learn More about the 2017 National Red Ribbon Photo Contest. Courtesy of the Red Ribbon Campaign and YouTube)