Since its beginning in 1985, Red Ribbon Week has become a way for communities to take a stand against drugs and show intolerance for illicit drug use.

Red Ribbon Week is celebrated annually from Oct. 23-31.

By wearing red ribbons and participating in community anti-drug events, young people pledge to live a drug-free lifestyle and pay tribute to DEA Special Agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena.

Special Agent Camarena was an 11-year DEA veteran assigned to the Guadalajara, Mexico, office, where he was on the trail of the country's biggest drug traffickers. In 1985, he was extremely close to unlocking a multi-billion-dollar drug pipeline.

On Feb. 7, 1985, he was kidnapped, tortured, and murdered by Mexican drug traffickers. His tragic death opened the eyes of many Americans to the dangers of drugs and the international scope of the drug trade.

Shortly after Camarena's death, citizens from his hometown of Calexico, California, began wearing red ribbons to remember him and commemorate his sacrifice.

During the last week of October, the Community Coalition On Drug Awareness encourages students, parents, educators, business owners, faith community, law enforcement, and other community organizations to wear a red ribbon to show your intolerance for drug use and encourage everyone you know to adopt a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.

When parents and other role models are clear and consistent in their opposition to substance use and abuse, children are less likely to use alcohol and other drugs.

Rick Gale