(SOUTHERN COLORADO) — The week of Oct. 23 through Oct. 31 is Red Ribbon Week around the nation and Colorado’s schools are gearing up for the task of making kids and teens aware of the dangers of drugs.

Red Ribbon Week began after Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena was “tortured and murdered by drug traffickers he was investigating in Mexico” according to Get Smart About Drugs. His high school friend, Henry Lozano, and Congressman Duncan Hunter showed their tribute to Camarena by wearing red ribbons to demonstrate opposition to drugs.

This became a national trend in 1988 when former President Reagan and former First Lady Nancy Reagan served as honorary Chairpersons of the first National Red Ribbon Week.

Schools throughout Southern Colorado have activities planned for the week, like dress-up days and information about drug use prevention. Some special events have been planned by school districts as well.

  • Widefield School District 3
  • Fountain Fort Carson District 8

Fountain-Fort Carson District 8 (FFC8) and Widefield District 3 (WSD3) have partnered with El Paso County Public Health to have a “conversation on the dangers of fentanyl and substance abuse” according to the Facebook event page.

“That will be streamed live on our Facebook page on Thursday, October 27th at 6 pm. It will be in person at the Public Health South Building located at 6436 S. US Hwy 85/87,” said Samantha Briggs, WSD3 Director of Communications.

Fentanyl-laced drugs have contributed to the rising overdose rates seen across the nation. Colorado saw a 38.3% rise in overdose deaths from 2021 to 2022 according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In August, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) warned the public of “rainbow fentanyl.”

“This trend appears to be a new method used by drug cartels to sell highly addictive and potentially deadly fentanyl made to look like candy to children and young people,” the DEA warning said.

With the advent of more potent and deadly drugs, Red Ribbon Week takes on more significance for the public, and teens especially.

FOX21 News reached out to several other Southern Colorado school districts for information on their Red Ribbon Week activities and is awaiting their responses.