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DOJ, OPI Encourage Montana Youth to Stay Drug-Free

HELENA – Montana Attorney General Tim Fox and Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen are kicking off Red Ribbon Week on October 23 by encouraging students across the state to demonstrate their commitment to living healthy, drug-free lifestyles. This year’s Red Ribbon Week theme is: “Be happy. Be brave. Be drug free.”™

Attorney General Fox and Superintendent Arntzen ask parents, educators, and students to watch the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) 2020 Virtual Red Ribbon Rally; to consider signing the Red Ribbon Week Pledge; and to be aware of the dangers of drug use and abuse.

“Substance abuse remains one of Montana’s most serious and persistent problems,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “Coupled with the stress and isolation many have felt during the pandemic, it’s vital, now more than ever, for each of us to recommit to living healthy and drug-free lifestyles. Red Ribbon Week is a good opportunity for adults to talk to the young people in their lives about how making good choices now will improve their odds of achieving bright futures.”

“As a teacher and State Superintendent, I know first-hand how important it is for parents and schools to partner in guiding healthy choices for Montana students,” said Superintendent Elsie Arntzen. “Now more than ever, students need social-emotional and mental health support to live healthy lifestyles. The OPI is committed to a whole-child approach to education. On Red Ribbon Week, let’s make Montana proud and work towards a healthy future for our students.”

The National Red Ribbon Week campaign was sparked by the 1985 murder of DEA Special Agent Enrique Camarena by drug traffickers. Today, Red Ribbon Week is nationally recognized and celebrated, helping preserve Special Agent Camarena’s memory. The Red Ribbon Campaign also became a way for state, county, and local agencies as well as schools to get involved and reduce the demand for drugs through prevention and education programs. By wearing a red ribbon during the last week in October, Montanans can demonstrate their opposition to drugs and remember all the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in support of America’s fight against drugs.

To learn more about substance abuse in Montana, visit the Montana Office of Public Instruction’s 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.