MILWAUKEE — On Sunday, black balloons were released from Samad's House in memory of lives lost to overdose. Samad's House is an organization on Milwaukee's north side that provides resources and support for people with a history of substance abuse.
As the balloons were released Samad's House founder Tahira Malik said, "today we say no more. Today we say we are here to fight this epidemic. We are releasing the balloons in honor of the lives that have been loss with the promise of healing."
Tahira's sister Amtul, is one of many in our community that has suffered with substance abuse.
"Addiction took me to rock bottom," Amtul said.
She said she went in out of treatment several times, relapsing in between. It took overdosing to give her a new perspective on life.
"That made me wake up and realize I'm worth more than that," Amtul said.
She is now two years sober, but said many of her friends and family weren't as lucky. She said everyone that she had used with is now deceased.
On Sunday Amtul was part of a panel sharing her experience with addiction and sharing a message with those still struggling.
"There are resources out there, you just have to want the help," Amtul said.
From 2018 to 2020 opioid related deaths in Wisconsin increased by more than 45% according to the Department of Health Services.
"Addiction does not discriminate based on race, it doesn't discriminate based on class, it doesn't discriminate based on age. Addiction hits everyone across the globe," Tahira said.