I vividly remember Red Ribbon Week growing up as a kid in Billings.

I didn't realize that it was still a thing in Montana Schools.

Red Ribbon Week, established initially to commemorate the tragic murder of Drug Enforcement Administration special agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena by drug traffickers and to raise awareness about the devastating impact of drugs on American families, continues to be a beacon of hope and advocacy in the ongoing battle against substance abuse.

Red Ribbon Week Is All About Living Drug-Free

The week spans from October 23 to 31.

This dedicated week serves as a vital opportunity to engage with Montana students, emphasizing the perils of drug use and the significance of leading a drug-free life.

According to the State of Montana, there has been a noteworthy decline in alcohol and drug consumption among high school students over the past two decades; however, the state has witnessed a distressing surge in adolescent drug overdose fatalities, primarily attributed to illicit fentanyl.


Biennially, Montana students in grades 7-12 participate in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), a self-reported survey addressing substance abuse and mental health.

The 2021 YRBS results concerning high school students revealed:

  • 31% currently consume alcohol
  • 18% had their inaugural experience with alcohol before turning 13
  • 16% currently engage in binge drinking
  • 37% have experimented with marijuana, including 7% who did so before the age of 13
  • 20% currently use marijuana
  • 12% admitted to trying prescription pain medication without a prescription
  • 2% experimented with methamphetamines
  • 3% reported offers, sales, or receipt of illegal drugs on school premises

A concerning trend has been the surge in the seizure of illicit fentanyl.

Between January 1 and August 30, Rocky Mountain High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (RMHIDTA) task forces, including the Montana Department of Justice's narcotics bureau and state Highway Patrol criminal interdiction teams, confiscated more than 137,000 fentanyl dosage units in Montana, a stark increase from the 61,000 units seized throughout the entirety of 2021.

LOOK: Best public high schools in Montana

Stacker compiled a list of the best public high schools in Montana using 2023 rankings from Niche.

Gallery Credit: Stacker

Parents Should Familiarize Themselves with These Illegal Drugs

Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to recognizing and understanding when your child becomes involved with illegal drugs.

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Top 6 Most Used Drugs In Montana

Drug use is on the rise throughout the United States and we see it more and more here in Montana.

You would think Marijuana would be number one, but considering it is now legal, the arrests are far fewer than they have been in the past years.

Here are the Top 6 Most Used Drugs In Montana.

Gallery Credit: megan shaul

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