Stoping the Stigma: PAL’s RED RIBBON WEEK


Photo courtesy of @cdmpal on Instagram

Karissa Beltran-Jimenez, Journalist

PAL’s Annual Red Ribbon Week took place from October 24th to October 28th. The week’s events started on Monday; students arrived to see the halls and the Kings Krew wall adorned with posters. PAL students stopped by classes during third period and handed out flyers and bracelets. Later an evening event was hosted at the Newport Beach Civic Center and organized by several local health organizations but primarily ONE On Campus and their director Lynne Pedersen. The event featured informational booths and wellness representatives. Amongst the booths were CdM PAL and Wellness as well as CdM ONE on Campus ambassadors Sam C. and April Clark. 


Utilizing social media and school platforms such as Trident TV and the bulletin boards, PAL posted the week’s events, resources, and general facts and statistics. Through TTV, PAL member and junior Quin Weil promoted an informative yet comedic warning to students about the recent fentanyl crisis. Weil said PAL’s goal is to “limit drug and alcohol use at CdM as much as possible.” When asked why he and the rest of his committee took a comedic approach to the video Weil said he didn’t “want a Red Ribbon Week where the video goes up and it [just says] ‘don’t do drugs because [students have] heard that a million times before.” Weil said their approach is “more memorable than just ‘don’t do drugs’ and hopes it captured students’ attention.” Also on Tuesday students received donuts for wearing red in support of Red Ribbon Week’s pledge to be drug and alcohol-free. 


In light of the fentanyl crisis, PAL played a video on fentanyl poisoning Wednesday during lunch. Junior and third-year PAL member, Ian Hanna reported that “the attendance was good. Adding, they “had a lot of people watching the video compared to the last few years.” Hanna said talking about these difficult topics will help diminish the drug and alcohol culture and “make sure people know what they’re getting into… and that if they take that path of drugs and alcohol there are dangers.” 


According to @cdmpal, on Instagram, “alcohol abuse is the cause of 200,000 ER visits and 4,300 deaths of people under 21.” Weil feels “people looking to escape the stress from whatever it may be– instead of doing recreational things that relieve that stress– turn to drugs.” He said informing his peers about the dangers is “definitely important to [him] because the drug use culture has become a really big thing at CdM.”


Hanna spoke out about peer pressure and said if students are feeling pressured to do drugs or alcohol “know that they can say no.” Weil adds  that students shouldn’t “let others dictate what [they] do” because, at the end of the day, the people who are pressuring them “will forget about it in five minutes versus how it could affect [the person] for the rest of [their] life.” 


Thursday at lunch PAL members along with ONE On Campus representatives hung a poster in the quad with a pledge for students to sign. By the end of the day, the poster was filled with signatures.
Hanna said that “overall, this year has been successful” and that over the years he has seen the Red Ribbon Week campaign work to break the stigma.