GERMANTOWN (WITI) -- Dozens of people gathered for a rally against heroin on a street corner in Germantown on Saturday, April 27th. Most participants have lost a loved one to the drug, or even used heroin themselves.
"I'm here to let all of the parents know, that this is real," says Julie Berg. Berg lost her son, Tyler, to a heroin overdose in 2012. Berg says her son once used the drug in a grocery parking lot, not far from where a group met to rally to raise awareness Saturday along Good Hope Road.
"Awareness is everything, and I'm just really glad that we're out here letting people know that we need to do something about it," says Berg.
Project Second Start, a Washington county non-profit group, says heroin usage in the suburbs in Southeast Wisconsin is on the rise.
"It is a huge problem in our county. I think just about every case we have it has something to do with heroin, some relation to heroin," says Barb Privat. Privat is a defense lawyer who started Project Second Start.
The group helps raise awareness and provides resources to those who are dealing with substance abuse issues. She says the number of deaths in Washington County alone is staggering.
"In the past four years there's been 68 deaths, they're heroin and opiate related deaths," notes Privat.
The anti-heroin rally hoped to grab the attention of the community about the growing problem. Families affected by the drug say awareness is the first step in stopping the problem.
"I did see hope. I know there is hope out there," says Berg.
To learn more about Project Second Start, click here.