ALLENTOWN, Pa. (WTXF) - A family in Allentown Whitehall is trying to figure out how to rebuild after losing a loved one to the heroin and opioid epidemic.
The epidemic continues to spread from inner cities to more affluent neighborhoods, and a week ago it struck Tristen Miller's family.
Tristen and his brother Tyler were close, you can see on social media the good times they shared but at one point Tyler fell into drug use.
"With my brother's case it was, 'I smoke weed to numb the pain,' then it was, 'I got injured and got hooked on pain medicines,'" said Tristen Miller.
The addiction grew until tragically last week, Tristen posted a picture to social media of the coroner taking away his little brother in a body bag after an overdose.
"I just kinda felt like it needed to be shared. This is the hard truth," said Miller.
Most families do everything they can to keep these types of images out of public view, but this time he wanted to remove the sanitized images and let people know what it feels like.
"You don't ever see the reality of somebody's point of view. That was me standing on the porch watching the coroners roll down my steps," said Miller.
The response to the hard truth of showing his brother being wheeled away surprised even Tristen who said he's not even sure why he did it. But the comments on social media were nearly united in saying it needed to be done.
"Everyone was sharing it, saying that this is the hard reality, this is the truth, this is what nobody wants to see, but this is reality. You will one day, if you continue to use drugs, take that ride," said Miller.
After sharing his family's pain, hundreds have reached out saying that the picture that has now gone viral inspired them to begin having difficult conversations.
"People say because of this reality, I shared this picture with my brother who's using and he broke down and cried and said, 'I don't want that to be me.' Or a mother would reach out to a son and say, 'Look, this is going to be you. Let's get the help you deserve because we love you,'" said Miller.
It also inspired a hard look at himself. Tristen has plans to work to get aid for addicts in immediate need and share the simple things we could all do more of.
"Hey, I know we haven't talked in a while, just wanna let you know I love you and I miss you. If you're ever ready to get help let me know. I'll do everything I can to help you out, no judgment," said Miller.
The last picture Tristen saw of his brother was in a body bag. As painful as it is, he's sharing his last view so it inspires all of us to not have this or a similar situation. Get your loved ones the help they need, the support they need.