According to the United States Government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury-related death in the U.S., outpacing deaths from motor vehicle crashes or firearms. The CDC’s preliminary data estimates more than 74,000 deaths in 2017 will be attributed to drug overdose.

Campus Drug Prevention, an educational arm of the United State Government’s Drug Enforcement Administration, is gearing up for Red Ribbon Week—the nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention awareness program. Celebrated annually from October 23-31 since 1988, this campaign is a great way for you and your community to help raise awareness of living a drug free life.

Celebrate Red Ribbon Week on your campus

As educators and NIRSA professionals, we are committed to sharing resources that help to promote the importance of prevention and its role in helping ensure the health and safety of our nation’s colleges and universities.

Fact sheets, PowerPoint presentations, promotional ideas, graphics, videos, and more are all available for free download as part of the DEA Red Ribbon Toolkit. Help spread the word about Red Ribbon Week on your campus and in your community.

Wearing red ribbons during the month of October represents your pledge to live drug free and honors the sacrifice of all who have lost their lives in the fight against drugs.

Campus video PSA contest

As part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Red Ribbon Week campaign, the DEA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) are cosponsoring a Campus Video PSA Contest for colleges and universities to promote the importance of preventing alcohol abuse and the non-medical use of prescription stimulants among college students.

Encourage students on your campus to create and submit a 30 to 60-second video PSA to promote the importance of preventing illicit drug use and legal drug misuse among college students and to showcase your campus’ commitment to a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.

Watch the 2017 contest winning video from Towson University and Towson University senior Raven Jackson.

DEA Museum Lecture Series

Be sure to also mark your calendars for the September 18 free online panel discussion “Opioids and Heroin: A New Look at Old (and Not So Old) Drugs,” hosted by the DEA Museum.

Experts in the opioid epidemic and the heroin threat will discuss the origins of the crisis, opioid addiction and overdose treatment, the importance of tracking opioid-related overdose deaths, and the increased heroin threat.


NIRSA is a member of the Coalition of Higher Education Associations for Substance Abuse Prevention (CoHEASAP), a group of organizations who collaborate on substance abuse prevention efforts within the higher education community.

This coalition of higher education associations and organizations seeks to eradicate the abuse of alcohol, tobacco, legal and illegal drugs, and other substances among college students. It strives to inspire students to review their lifestyles and make informed decisions regarding these substances. Member organizations support teaching college students life skills that will enable them to be successful in college and after.

Executive Director, Campus Life Services & Campus Center at | NIRSA Profile

Bill Crockett is currently the Executive Director of Campus Life Services at the University of Maryland Baltimore, a Past President of NIRSA, and the NIRSA representative on CoHEASAP. He can be reached at