Red Ribbon Week

Written by: Jared McNair

Red Ribbon Week, a week long awareness program dedicated towards keeping students off of harmful substances. Whether it be alcohol, tobacco, or any other drug, the Associate Student Body (ASB) made sure tigers would steer clear of the life destroying substances. Almost everyone has heard the catchphrase “Drug Use is Life Abuse”. The whole school wears it on our wrist for a week as a reminder. It’s an important week, and though it may feel repetitive, it is a pledge and vow that all should take.

It may seem pretty obvious to a lot of people that drugs are bad, but the world can be quite deceptive sometimes. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), illicit drug use for teenagers has seen a steady decline, hitting a record low in 2017. But this excludes Marijuana, which has shown a steady rise for the past few years.  And it may seem as simple as it gets to say drugs are bad, but the impact of drug use or abuse is far more consequential than one may expect. As a student, the effects of drug use for an individual could be catastrophic. A student can gain emotional problems, such as depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. One could also gain behavioral problems that can lead to social problems, fights and possibly criminal activity. And learning problems could occur that could damage long and short-term memory and lead to memory loss and learning incapability, even brain damage. These are some of the risks one takes when using drugs. It helps to know the facts, even when common sense may seem like a better choice. But it’s simple, drugs ruin lives.

Valencia has helped in a sense to make awareness stick more with the student body. These include lots of red and ‘dress-up days’. These dress-up days included a PJ day, Hawaiian Day, and the obvious Blue and Gold Friday. But this was only a sizable bit to the larger picture. Alongside that was a sea of red across campus, a unique optional presentation, and facts during morning announcements. All of these help students understand and make sure they never use drugs.
These ‘dress-up days’ throughout the week went as following. Monday was PJ Day – “Put Drugs to Sleep”. Tuesday was Jersey Day – “Team Up against Drugs”. Wednesday was Hawaiian Day – “Lei off Drugs”. Thursday was College/Sunglasses Day – “We’re too Bright for Drugs” and there was the common Blue and Gold Friday. Overall this was considered the highlight of the week. The overall message is that as a student body everyone should take a stand against drugs. There are many studies and many anti-drug movements, advertisements, and groups. For many it’s common sense. For others, it’s new information that could lead them on a path to a better life. With dress-up days and red everywhere, we are sure to see that vow taken seriously.