WASHINGTON (KDKA) — Heart-wrenching stories of loss and incredible stories of survival were front and center at the 5th Annual Fight Against Heroin March and Rally in Washington, Washington County.

Several organizations, ministries, and families came together at Washington High School to advocate for more education and better recovery programs for substance-abuse.

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The founder of the program, M.J. Markley, told KDKA, “It’s here. It doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter if you’re low class, high class, middle class, it’s going to be there.”

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Many who spoke at the event were recovering addicts themselves who are now involved in outreach programs.

Brandon Duplinsky, president of Lethal Affection Ministries, said he nearly died twice from overdoses.

“The one thing we really need is to break is the stigma that you can just quit when you want,” said Duplinsky. “It’s not a choice. It’s usually something that happened throughout life that needs to be dealt with and dealing with the symptoms is not enough.”

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David Battiste was one of the keynote speakers. He is the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement.