Red Ribbon Week at Ramstein

  • Published
  • By Airman Jared Lovett
  • 86AW/PA

Red ribbons have been used by communities as a symbol of intolerance towards the use of drugs since 1985 in response to the murder of special agent Enrique Camarena of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

In honor of Camarena and his battle against illegal drugs, the National Family Partnership leads the National Red Ribbon Campaign to spread awareness of the dangers of drugs to youth during Red Ribbon Week. Red Ribbon Week is held from Oct. 23 to 31 each year.

“In spite of COVID-19, we’ve been able to go to these schools and educate students in person,” said Calvin Collosi, 86th Airlift Wing Drug Demand Reduction program manager. “I always feel being there in person is the best way to instill good ideas and behaviors instead of in a video or on the phone.”

The theme for Red Ribbon Week this year was Drug Free Looks Like Me. The theme serves as a reminder that Americans make a daily contribution to their communities by remaining drug-free.

Students attending schools in the Kaiserslautern Military Community took advantage of the opportunity by publicly pledging they would remain safe, healthy and drug-free.

“We’ve had them sign pledges to stay drug-free and we’ve been putting those up around the school,” said Rachel Kotzar, Ramstein High School Adolescent Support and Counseling Services (ASACS) counselor. “It’s always optional, we never force them to because we want them to take it seriously since they’re signing their name for it to be an actual commitment.”

Additionally, the schools brought in a special agent from the Office of Special Investigations to the schools who explained to students the dangers of drugs after which the students were given the opportunity to ask him questions.

The schools also had special events for the students to further spread drug awareness.

“We had military working dogs demonstrating what search and seizure looked like and the 86 AW pharmacist came in and talked to the kids about everything from over-the-counter drugs, to prescription and street drugs,” said Margaret Zohni, Ramstein High School ASACS counselor.

The United Services Organization also supported the week’s campaign by handing out red ribbon themed merchandise to students of Kaiserslautern High School. Proceeds from the sales help support prevention programs across America.

Red Ribbon Week continues to be a way for families and communities to take a stand against drugs.

For students who participated in virtual-learning or homeschooling, an option to take the pledge to remain drug-free is available online at