AREA -- This year's nationally recognized Red Ribbon Week is Oct. 23-31.
The week is designed to raise awareness of the dangers of substance abuse. The Missouri Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse encourages local involvement in substance abuse prevention efforts.
Red Ribbon is celebrated and recognized as the result of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Agent Enrique Camarena's brutal murder in 1985 by drug cartel leaders. Community leaders in his hometown of Calexico, Calif., responded by wearing red ribbons.
According to Thayer Elementary Counselor Bridget Liggett, they became a voice for prevention in reducing the demand for illegal drugs and the use of illegal drugs in America.
The California PTA adopted the Red Ribbon campaign the following year. In 1988 Red Ribbon gained national recognition with President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan serving as honorary chairs.
Today, Red Ribbon Week brings people together to raise awareness about alcohol, tobacco, drug intervention and treatment services. Red Ribbon Week allows community members to come together in an effort to raise awareness about substance abuse.
The theme for this years campaign is "Step it up: A call to action!"
"This is about the importance of choosing a healthy, drug free lifestyle. Lessons concerning drug and alcohol awareness are being presented during classroom guidance times at our school," Liggett said.
Each day at Thayer Elementary School students will be asked to wear a different color and dress for each day's theme.
Every student will receive a drug free armband along with many other drug free materials. Each day students remembers to wear the armband their name will be entered in a drawing to receive a drug free prize," Liggett said.
Other activities across the area include Mammoth Spring Mayor Jean Pace signing a Red Ribbon proclamation declaring the week Red Ribbon Week in her city.
At Alton High School the Students Against Drug Driving (SADD) will be sporting drug free Red Ribbon T-shirts. Elizabeth Harris is the SADD sponsor at the school.
Students at Koshkonong School in conjunction with the FCCLA Club will also be dressing in different colors each day to show support of Red Ribbon Week.
Couch High School has no Red Ribbon Week activities planned but an elementary school spokesperson said they would be combining their Red Ribbon activities with Spirit Week later in the year.