Red Ribbon Day spreads awareness about preventing drug usage

October 28, 2019 — by Vicky Bai and Neeti Badve

The outreach commission decided to convert last year’s Red Ribbon Week, focused on the issue of preventing alcohol and drug usage by the student population, into Red Ribbon Day to encourage more students to pay attention to its overall message. 

"Not that many people last year participated all week, and not that many people cared by the end,” said head commissioner Sally Kim. “So we thought it would be better to have it as one day.”

Organizers hope Red Ribbon Day, scheduled for Oct. 28, will will hit home with its message. 

“We hope to raise awareness about the effects of drugs and alcohol, especially Juuling because that is the main thing on our campus,” said senior Surbhi Bhat, a member of the commission. 

“We want kids to be more aware of the consequences.” 

The anti-drug campaign began with a tailgate in the morning. Teachers were encouraged to openly share their personal experiences dealing with drugs and alcohol to their classes, ranging from ways to deal with peer pressure to seeing the problem first hand. Stickers and ribbons were also passed out throughout the day in order to inspire more excitement about the theme. 

Similarly to last year, lawn signs and posters appeared all around school, as well as on social media, to help get their message across. 

Despite all the activities, Red Ribbon Day still struggled to gain participation. 

“I knew when Red Ribbon Day occurred through Facebook, but I didn’t understand how to participate. I feel like I paid more attention to the anti-Juuling signs in the bathrooms than Red Ribbon Day,” said sophomore Selina Chen. 

Bhat acknowledges that one day of anti-drug campaigning is not going to change the minds of most teenagers, but she remains hopeful of its positive impact. 

“We know it’s not going to reduce juuling that much or even deter people from doing it,” Bhat said, “but if they understand more of the long-term consequences, hopefully, they’ll be more conscious about it.”

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At UC Berkeley, PhD student Abrar Abidi and research assistant Yvonne Hao have embarked on a goal of creating hand sanitizer for the Bay Area's most vulnerable populations, including the homeless and the incarcerated. Their hand sanitizer includes glycerol mixed with other products, in accordance with a formula from the World Health Organization. So far, they are producing 120 hundreds of gallons of sanitizer each week. Photo courtesy of Roxanne Makasdjian with UC Berkeley.

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