Red Ribbon Week Highlights Dangers of Drug Use

October 23, 2018

ATLANTA- The Georgia Department of Education and the Georgia Department of Public Health are partnering to recognize Red Ribbon Week, and to encourage students to live healthy, drug free lives. Red Ribbon Week is Oct. 23-31, 2018.

Substance use has an enormous impact on students of all ages. It impairs healthy growth and brain development, academic performance and ultimately, lifelong success. Substances abused by adolescents include alcohol, inhalants, opiates, amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana and nicotine. 

“It’s important that we help educate students of the dangers of drug use,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “We want to guide students toward a healthy future for their ultimate success and to reach their highest potential.” 

Nicotine, delivered through cigarettes or electronic nicotine devices (ENDS) such as e-cigarettes or vape pens, causes both immediate and long-term damage. 

“Young people are extremely sensitive to nicotine and the younger they are when they start using tobacco or e-cigarettes, the more likely they are to develop addiction to nicotine, and begin a lifetime of chronic disease,” said J. Patrick O’Neal, M.D., commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health. “That makes prevention in Georgia schools right now so critical.” 

School districts can get help from local health departments to implement the 100% Tobacco Free School Policy, which includes ENDS.

“E-cigarettes are putting an entire generation at risk of nicotine dependence,” said Robin Koval, CEO and President at Truth Initiative. “Unfortunately, young people have misperceptions around e-cigarettes and according to our research 63 percent of young e-cigarette users weren’t aware that the product always contains nicotine. Young people who use e-cigarettes are more than four times more likely to become cigarette smokers, which escalates the urgency for FDA regulation and public education regarding the risks of e-cigarette use for young people."

Learn more about the dangers of e-cigarettes.


About the Georgia Department of Public Health 

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is the lead agency in preventing disease, injury and disability; promoting health and well-being; and preparing for and responding to disasters. For more information about DPH, visit

About the Georgia Department of Education

The Georgia Department of Education oversees public education throughout the state, ensuring that laws and regulations pertaining to education are followed and that state and federal money appropriated for education is properly allocated to local school systems. The department also informs parents, teachers, government officials, and the media of education-related news.