Roanoke Red Ribbon Week ceremony

ROANOKE, Va. – On Sunday afternoon, people gathered at the Hotel Roanoke to remember those affected by alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. 

This year's Red Ribbon Week theme was: "Send a message. Stay drug free."

Schools from around the area competed in a poster contest that used that theme to raise awareness of substance abuse. Awards were given out Sunday to the winning students. New this year was the United Family Award, which allowed students to involve their families in the creative process.

Organizers say they hope this opens a conversation so parents can talk about the dangers of substance abuse with their kids.

Red Ribbon Week is held at the end of every October to help raise awareness of drug abuse.