The kickoff rally was emceed by rapper Police Ice and featured performances by the Texas Children’s Choir and HYPE, a San Antonio youth troupe that encourages teens to stay drug and alcohol free for life. During the rally, the fifth-graders took a pledge to remain drug free. Afterward, they held a mock legislative session in the Texas House and Senate chambers, where they debated and voted on drug- and alcohol-related resolutions they drafted in advance.
A recent survey by the Texas Department of State Health Services and Texas A&M University’s Public Policy Research Institute shows that the use of tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs continues to decline among Texas youth.
“We are seeing the positive results of educating young people about drugs,” said Mike Maples, DSHS assistant commissioner for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. “However, abuse of prescription painkillers has risen among seventh- to 12th-graders, so we need to keep talking to kids and parents about the dangers of abusing those kinds of medications.”
The Red Ribbon Rally is sponsored by Partnership for a Drug-Free Texas, an organization supervised and funded by DSHS. The Texas Partnership is an arm of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, a non-profit organization that helps parents prevent drug and alcohol use by their children.
The Red Ribbon campaign began as a grassroots movement to honor the memory of Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent who was kidnapped, tortured and killed in 1985 by drug traffickers in Mexico.