Red Ribbon is the largest drug abuse prevention campaign in the United States. Every year, on October 23-31, communities celebrate Red Ribbon Week to spread awareness and support healthy, drug-free kids. 

Looking for fun activities your students can participate in while social distancing? Here are a few ways for schools to celebrate Red Ribbon Week virtually.

1. Red Ribbon Theme Contest

Every year, the Red Ribbon theme changes. Your students could create next year’s theme and promote the drug-free message nationwide! Ask students to visit Visit for details. The deadline to submit is December 4, 2020.

This year’s theme is Be Happy, Be Brave, Be Drug Free™.

Past themes include:

  • “Send A Message. Stay Drug Free.”
  • “Life Is Your Journey. Travel Drug Free.”
  • “Your Future Is Key, So Stay Drug Free.”
  • “YOLO. Be Drug Free.”

2. Photo Contest for a Chance to Win an iPad and $1000 for Your School

Grab your camera and show your creativity. Schools can submit photos of a school or virtual school decoration, preferably with people in it. Visit for details.

Deadline: Nov. 1, 2020

Voting Period: Nov. 2 – Nov. 16, 2020

Winners Announced: Dec. 2, 2020

3. Spoken Word Contest for a Chance to Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card

Encourage students to use their cell phones or computers to make a spoken word video performance that incorporates the theme, Be Happy, Be Brave, Be Drug Free™. These can be 60 seconds or less. Direct students to post it to Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #RedRibbonWeekSpokenWord. Contest begins October 23rd and ends October 31st.

For samples of written word performances check out Youth Speaks, the nation’s leading presenter of spoken word arts and education. 

4. Social Media Campaign

Share your support for Red Ribbon Week and encourage students to do the same. Encourage your team and your students to post a photo of your favorite drug-free activities on Instagram with #redribbonweek and #BeHappyBeBraveBeDrugFree. Students can hold up the Red Ribbon Theme Sign. They can also use pictures and logos made by the Red Ribbon campaign by downloading them here

5. Incorporate Theme Days 

Each year, students show their support for substance abuse awareness and prevention by dressing up for daily themes. While online learners may not be in the classroom, they can still share their support by dressing up for Zoom calls. 

Consider the following themed dress-up days, or come up with your own:

  • Monday: Wear Red Day- Students wear red to kick off Red Ribbon week
  • Tuesday: “Sport a Drug Free Lifestyle”- Students wear sports attire like jerseys and hats to support their favorite team or player
  • Wednesday: “Sock It to Drugs Day”- Allow students to showcase crazy socks
  • Thursday: “Don’t Let Drugs Make You Crazy”- Students wear silly, mismatched outfits.
  • Friday: “School Spirit Day”- Students wear school shirts or other merchandise, or school colors 

6. Share Positive Videos

In your lesson, incorporate videos that educate students about the effects of substance abuse and encourage students to make good decisions and seek healthy alternatives. For example, Natural High offers Common Core-aligned videos that feature celebrities like athletes and musicians to encourage students to pursue their passions instead of getting drunk or high.

7. Ask Your Local Police Department or Health Department to Host a Virtual Drug Presentation

Reach out and ask them to host a virtual talk about why it’s important to stay drug free. Check out this resource to find the contact information for your local health department. 

8. Bring Online Prevention Education to Your Students

Whether your school is remote, in-person, or hybrid, it’s important to educate students about substance abuse. Providing prevention education can combat the flood of misinformation from peers and media and equip students to make healthy, informed decisions. 

Provide students with knowledge and skills about alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, and other drugs like opioids. 3rd MIllennium Classrooms offers a suite of evidence-based online prevention and intervention education courses. Through thought-provoking questions, engaging videos, and illustrative graphics, our lessons give students tailored feedback, so they can resist or reevaluate substance use.