MILWAUKEE - Putting a face to the growing heroin epidemic in Southeast Wisconsin. A hearing Thursday is expected to bring people of all walks of life together to combat the growing drug problem in Southeast Wisconsin. One local grandmother shared her grandson's addiction story with us ahead of the congressional hearing.
Theia barrette's grandson grew up in West Allis, but he dropped out before high school graduation, and died of a heroin overdose last month. She's now sharing his story in the hopes of helping someone else.
Her emotions are raw - recalling her grandson's overdose.
"And my heart just shattered into a thousand pieces," said Theia Barrette.
This is aaron at age 17. He had a talent for drawing, and a smile that could light up the room.
"Aaron was always kidding around, joking around," said Barrette.
Two years later, this is who aaron had become.
"I think it did initially start with the wrong crowd," said Barrette.
Theia barrette says her grandson was just 13 when he started taking pills. Six years later, his drug of choice was heroin.
"And this is what I found under my bed," said Barrette.
Countless times family tried to intervene. Barrette says aaron himself seemed to want to get sober.
"He would say oh I really hate living like this, I hate feeling like this, I hate being like this," said Barrette.
Looking back, she only wonders, if they could have done more to help him.
"They can say they wanna quit until they're blue in the face but then the next line they're gonna come out with is we're gonna run one more time tonight and I'll get clean tomorrow," said Barrette.
Lawmakers are elevating their response. A hearing Thursday is an attempt to understand the reasons behind the heroin epidemic.
"There's ten doses per gram, that's ten dollars per hit of heroin. That's like a good craft beer in an expensive restaurant. That's why this is so prevalent. That's why this overdoses is growing," said U.S. Senator Ron Johnson.
The pubilc's encouraged to attend Thursday's hearing. It's at 2:30 at the Waukesha County Technical College in Pewaukee.