Addictive drugs have been an issue in America since the 1800s. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was created in 1973 to enforce federal drug laws and better handle the government's drug control activities.
Enrique "Kiki" Camarena joined the DEA in 1975 and became an undercover special agent. Camarena believed one person could make a difference, so he set out to stop the supply of drugs coming into the United States. With over 400 Mexican authorities, he assisted in the destruction of the eight-billion-dollar Rancho Bufalo – a 2,500-acre marijuana farm.
Almost a year later, in 1985, Camarena was abducted, tortured, and killed. People in Camarena's hometown soon started wearing red ribbons to honor him and show their opposition to drugs. The Red Ribbon Campaign was sponsored in 1988 by the National Family Partnership to continue the crusade against drugs. Since then, the Red Ribbon Campaign has worked with communities, families, and schools to educate and promote drug-free lives.
In 2020, the US Postal Service released a Drug Free USA Forever stamp during Red Ribbon week. Those who wear a red ribbon during october not only pledge to live drug free, but honor those who have lost their lives in the heroic fight against drugs.