Organizer Libby Harrison said she hoped the gathering would show grieving families that they’re not alone.
"The level of pain and shame these families are feeling; it's silencing and it hurts,” Harrison said.
The heroin problem in Hamilton County and around the Tri-State is continuing to grow, Harrison, who also leads the Cincinnati Exchange Project, said. More than 300 people were killed by heroin in the area last year, while addiction treatment centers have waiting lists of a month or longer.
Harrison said she wanted to hold the event now because the holidays are a particularly difficult time for families who have lost a member due to drugs.
“It could be an empty chair because of death, it could be an empty chair because the family has drawn a line,” Harrison said.
Organizers said they plan to make this an annual event.
Click here for a list of resources to help get off heroin.