The California Highway Patrol (CHP) recognizes Red Ribbon Week, Oct. 23-31, as an excellent opportunity for families to have lifesaving conversations with their children about drug use. The Red Ribbon Campaign, organized by the National Family Partnership, is the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation.
The Red Ribbon Campaign was created after drug traffickers in Mexico City murdered a Drug Enforcement Administration agent from Southern California in 1985. Displaying the Red Ribbon became the symbol of intolerance toward the use of drugs.
The CHP will be supporting efforts in California schools during Red Ribbon Week to discourage illegal drug use. Driving under the influence of any drug that acts on the central nervous system can impair motor skills, reaction time, and judgment. Drugged driving is a public health concern because it puts not only the driver at risk but also passengers and others who share the road.
“Children whose parents talked to them regularly about the dangers of illegal drugs are far less likely to use drugs than those who do not, yet only about a quarter of teens report having these conversations,” CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “Despite all the outside influences on our young people today, their families’ messages are still crucial.”
The three most widely used drugs by youth and adults are alcohol, prescription drugs, and marijuana. A driver impaired by marijuana or drugs, either prescription or illegal, can be just as deadly as a drunk driver.
Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 16 and 19. It is generally accepted that because teens are the least experienced drivers as a group, they have a higher risk of being involved in a collision compared with more experienced drivers. When this lack of experience is combined with the use of marijuana or other substances that impact cognitive and motor abilities, the results can be tragic.
The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security to the people of California.