NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — About a hundred people from the police department, the health department and other local agencies were spreading awareness Thursday afternoon in a neighborhood police say has been hard-hit by the opioid crisis.

The community walk stretched from 19th to 27th streets along Jefferson and Madison Avenues. Police say they picked this area because of a high number of overdoses and deaths from opioids.

A local mother knows all about that – and she wishes this emphasis would have begun sooner.

“It’s really bad out here,” said Latasha Brown, who lives in Walker Village. She says drugs have taken over her neighborhood.

Police knocked on doors, talked in small groups with neighbors and joined health and social service personnel to inform residents of resources available for people dealing with addiction.

Chief Steve Drew has been on the job for less than two months, but has now had four community walks already. He says when it comes to opioids, the door-to-door approach can be an eye opener.

“I think awareness is 50 percent. Even if we just help one person.”

Brown spoke to us with an infant in her  arms. She sees the community outreach as a positive step in a neighborhood where “people are always getting high.”

“If we can work together as a community we can make it better out here.”

State health department figures show opioid deaths actually went down last year in Newport News, even though they were up state wide. 

Police say they will also use these walks to gather other information about neighborhood crime.