What is Red Ribbon Week?

Red Ribbon Week is the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the United States and intended to demonstrate a unified and visible commitment to maintaining a drug free school and community. Schools are encouraged to celebrate by sponsoring drug prevention programs and activities during this years' Red Ribbon Week, observed October 23-31, 2023. This year's theme is "Be Kind to Your Mind. Live Drug Free.™"

How will PWCS observe Red Ribbon Week?

Through partnership with schools, communities, and parents, we increase the chances that our students will exercise positive decision-making. Prince William County Public Schools is committed to educating our students about drug resistance, positive decision making, and living a healthy lifestyle. Please join us in observing Red Ribbon Week on Thursday, October 26 by participating in "Get RED of Drugs" Day. Students, parents, educators, and community members are encouraged to wear red to show their support of substance abuse prevention in Prince William County.

Additionally, the Student Prevention Programs and Family Assistance team would like to support your school's effort in celebrating 2023 Red Ribbon Week. Please contact Mallory McKnight at [email protected], to discuss how we can assist in implementing Red Ribbon Week!

Substance Abuse in Virginia

According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, teenagers in Virginia are 16.46% less likely to have used drugs in the last month than the average American teen. However, 44,000 youth in Virginia - or 6.96% - of 12- to 17-year-olds reported using drugs in the last month. Among them:

  • 77.27% reported using marijuana;
  • 2.37% reported misusing pain relievers; and
  • 9.01% reported using alcohol.

The Call to Action: Substance Abuse Prevention Document provides school-based mental health professionals with the resources and tools they need to prevent substance abuse in their schools and divisions.

Learn about the history
of Red Ribbon Week
and DEA Agent Kiki Camarena


Parent/School Planning Guides & Toolkits

2023 Red Ribbon Theme: Be Kind to Your Mind: Live Drug Free

Red Ribbon School & Community Toolkits

Lesson Plans & Classroom Activities:

Red Ribbon Week Activities

2023 Red Ribbon Theme: Be Kind to Your Mind: Live Drug Free


  • Students and staff participate in "Get RED of Drugs" Day by wearing red on Thursday, October 26;
  • Invite speakers to your school to talk about the importance of living drug-free;
  • Incorporate drug prevention curriculum throughout the week;
  • Coordinate fun and impactful activities for students (spirit week, pep rallies, guest speakers, etc.);
  • Decorate interior/exterior areas of the building;
  • Plant red flower bulbs;
  • Send out communications to parents/guardians about Red Ribbon Week;
  • Invite parents/guardians and students to prevention education programs;
  • Invite older peers to talk to younger peers about peer pressure, refusal strategies, and the importance of making healthy choices;
  • Have a special display in the library with prevention messages. Include books about healthy choices;
  • Encourage students to sign a drug free pledge;
  • Visit the PWCS Substance Abuse Prevention Canvas page for resources for students, families, and staff; 
  • Sign up for REVIVE! training in the Professional Learning Catalog and 
  • Contact the Student Health and Wellness, Substance Abuse Prevention team to discuss how we can support your school's efforts in celebrating this year's Red Ribbon Week. 


  • Talk to peers about the importance of making healthy decisions;
  • Work with school staff to plan Red Ribbon Week activities;
  • Participate in Red Ribbon Week activities at your school;
  • Use social media pages to post prevention messages;
  • Model healthy choices to younger peers; and
  • Talk to trusted adults about substance abuse prevention.


  • Pledge to be drug free;
  • Participate in Red Ribbon Week activities with your children;
  • Attend prevention programs;
  • Volunteer to help with Red Ribbon Week at your child's school;
  • Secure and take inventory of your medicine cabinet to prevent prescription drug abuse;
  • Use social media to post prevention messages; and
  • Educate your child on refusal strategies and how to deal with peer pressure.


  • Use social media to deliver prevention messages;
  • Become trained in REVIVE- Opioid Overdose Recognition and Response Training;
  • Participate in Prince William County's Drug Take Back Day; and
  • Contact local government officials about declaring October 23-31 Red Ribbon Week in Prince William County.

Additional Resources

If you would like more information on substance abuse prevention, local/national statistics, or the Red Ribbon Week campaign, please review the following online resources:


Take a look at how PWCS Celebrated
Red Ribbon Week in 2021
(YouTube) and 2022 (Facebook)