WORCESTER, Mass. - A local nonprofit is looking to break the stigma surrounding substance abuse and the recovery process.

Hundreds lacing up their walking shoes for Yes to Recovery's walk Saturday morning at Institute Park. The group was founded by people with first-hand knowledge of the needs of those suffering with substance use disorders. Its mission is to help support drug awareness programs, while also shedding light on the issue to the general public. 

Worcester's Health and Human Services Commissioner Dr. Matilde Castiel says opioid overdoses and deaths have become a significant problem in the city. She says every five minutes, someone dies of an overdose in the U.S., and events like Saturday's hope to address that issue.

"But it's also the awareness that's for me, to be able to tell the community that this exists and recover can happen but also an acknowledgment of what's been happening in our community," Castiel said.

"You get people into recovery, and then you remove the stigma, and we're going to beat this," said Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early, Jr. "Because the stigma keeps people from employment, it keeps them from housing, it keeps them from the proper medical care."

"This is what we envisioned," said Tim Rassias, founder of the Washburn house. "Getting the community together, so that we could get all the organizations, all the providers together. Sigma, like joe mentioned, it's our sons, our daughters."

The walk comes in the middle of national recovery month, which celebrates the accomplishment of those in recovery who have made progress.