How to Keep Your Kids Off Drugs

As a mother of six it’s one of my great fears that at least one of my children will end up as a drug addict. We already have more than one extended family member in recovery and it’s really a path I don’t want to go down.

So I’m always super excited for the most hyped drug prevention program in our school district. Yep, I’m talking about Red Ribbon Week.

Let me explain: did you know that putting red ribbons around your school will prevent your child from ever trying or getting addicted to drugs? It’s true! Bet you didn’t know it was that simple!  Other things that will help your child never take drugs:

Having crazy hair/socks

Wearing a hat/slippers/pajamas to school

Dressing like a cowboy/lumberjack/nerd (which in our family means dressing like normal)

Wearing your favorite sports team’s jersey (that would explain the low drug incidence in poor areas where kids always wear team jerseys.)

Seriously. Seriously? Seriously!

What the hell is the point of Red Ribbon Week? Are we being taught this week how to help our kids make wise decisions regarding drugs? Have the kids been given any real tools to resist drugs? Have parents been given any strategies to keep our kids drug-free?


Can’t we just admit that we would like an excuse to be silly at school especially since they don’t want kids to wear Halloween costumes anymore?

Instead the kids are given cheesy slogans (“put a cap on drugs!”) and told to wear a hat to school. As if that will make any impact on your 14-year-old who is given a joint while he’s hanging out with friends at the park. Is he really supposed to think, “gosh, I wore those crazy sock in 3rd grade. There’s no way I’m going to smoke that stuff now!”

I have no problem with my kids wearing Hawaiian shirts to school. It is fine with me. (Unless, of course, I have to go buy Hawaiian shirts for everyone.)  I can spend twenty minutes doing a crazy hairstyle once a year.  No big deal. But the whole tie-in with keeping kids off drugs?

Lame, lame, lame.


Judging by the size of his Sombrero, Jasper will be drug-free for life!



14 thoughts on “How to Keep Your Kids Off Drugs

  1. Ha ha ha, love the pictures.

    And you make a very good point. Granted, as a kid, I loved red ribbon week because I got to dress up. 😉 But that really has nothing to do with drugs…

    “If you don’t do drugs, you’re a nerd! Let’s celebrate by dressing up as one!”

  2. I agree 100%. Mary refused to wear any of the silly stuff and I’m a little thrilled that she doesn’t give in to peer pressure. 😉

    One boy in Hans’ class refused to sign the “I won’t do drugs” contract saying:

    “After all the cool stuff they told us about marijuana this week I have to try it!” Awesome.

  3. The point is really lost when your kid brings home the mixed message of “Tomorrow is ‘Hats Off to Drugs’ day!”

  4. Yes, my high schooler was saying how “All the druggies were taking handfuls of the red ribbon bracelets”. Apparently, the more you wear, the more you like drugs. Soooo glad instructional time is being used for this worthy cause. Good news is, they can buy a Coke or Monster drink from the vending machine to keep them awake during the assembly.

  5. Red Ribbon Week drives me crazy. It causes craziness and I have enough of that already. Let’s call it dress up week or do something that might actually work like have dinner with your family at the dinner table night or play a board game night or ask your kids about their friends.

  6. Ha! I told my kids the same thing yesterday. They were talking about a trivia quiz at lunch and asked if I knew what Red Ribbon Week was for. I told them it was to make them feel less guilty about not allowing costumes to be worn on Halloween. “No, it is to keep us drug free!” “Well, that is what they tell you it is, but it is really the Halloween guilt.” Then I remembered kids repeat everything you say to their teachers and I started having some guilt myself…

  7. I figure whatever your fear for your children/family is, whatever hits you, isn’t the one you were expecting. Just the way it works.

  8. We never had Red Ribbon Week in the northeast… it was much easier to just drive the kids 20 miles to Philly or 60 to NY and SHOW them what drugs did to you. When I saw the notice my kid brought home, I thought… you’ve got to be kidding… wear clothes and you won’t do drugs basically… WTH??? So, thank you thank you thank you for givning me permissing to thumb my nose at this silly week.

  9. Ya, I got an email from the school about “red ribbon week” and it said what shirts/shoes/hats my kids could wear during the week. NOT ONE WORD about what red ribbon week was or that it had anything to do with drug prevention. I had to ask the kids I carpool with, and only one of them knew. SAD!!!

  10. Imagine my surprise when my kindergartner came home from school during red ribbon week and announced: “Mom, I’m going to have free drugs for all my life!”
    The actual slogan was “Live a drug free life.” A little lost in translation, perhaps?

  11. I am a school counselor myself, and just googled “something NOT cheesy for red ribbon week,” which brought me to your blog. If anyone has any ideas on how to get the kids interested in being drug free while at the same time having something tangible to hand out to them, I’m all ears. I’m quite sick of handing out bracelets that say “Say Peace Out to Drugs!” P.S. – I’m a HIGH SCHOOL counselor… we all know how excited high school kids get about Red Ribbon Week.

  12. Hi Hildie,
    I love this post! Made me laugh. Ribbon-wrapping instead of effective drug education?
    If you want to see what the no-BS approach looks like, I’ve got a present for you (and Mary, etc.):

    This is a humongous free sample of “How To Keep Your Kids Off Drugs.”
    The book was written exactly for the purpose you were all talking about…doing things which are actually effective to help keep your kids off drugs, rather than decorating all the banisters. What is up with that?

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