Red Ribbon Week Celebrates Substance Use Prevention

October celebrates Red Ribbon Week, the nation’s largest and longest-running substance use prevention campaign. Traditionally, the campaign is an opportunity for parents and teachers to speak with their children and students about the dangers of drug use, as well as an opportunity to bring awareness and resources to communities across the nation. Much like the name suggests, red ribbons worn or displayed during October 23-31 represent a pledge of living drug free and honoring those who have lost their lives in the fight against drugs. One of the main purposes of this campaign is to normalize conversations of substance use and create dialogue between families, schools, and communities. These conversations can help reduce the ongoing stigma surrounding substance use; a stigma which continues to prevent those suffering to seek treatment.

The United States is currently facing an urgent crisis involving the use and misuse of opioids such as heroin, illicitly manufactured fentanyl, and prescription opioids – as well as the use of other drugs such as methamphetamines and cocaine. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics there were 67,839 confirmed deaths caused by drug overdose in 2019, a number which continues to increase each year. Prevention awareness campaigns like Red Ribbon Week are an invaluable resource to communicate information across communities and making the public aware of substance use disorder treatment options.

Research shows that a combination of medication and therapy can successfully treat these disorders, and for some people struggling with addiction, medication assisted treatment can help sustain recovery. At GEFCC, we provide Substance Use Disorder Services (SUD)/Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) at 4 of our Health Center locations: Summit Health Center in Elgin, Lake Health Center in Hanover Park, Creekside Health Center in Wheeling, and Center for Family Health in Sycamore.

The Medication-Assisted Treatment Program uses medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. Anyone interested in these services should call 847-608-1344 to schedule an appointment with one of our Program Coordinators.