Nolan Brandt is 19 years old, and already he's learned a lot about addiction and how it can destroy a family.

"I would trade the world. I would trade anything I could not to be educated because that would mean I would have my brother with me," says Brandt.

Nolan's older brother, Robby, became addicted to pain killers at 16 years old.

Years later, Robby enlisted in the Army, and when he returned home, he was introduced to and then became addicted to heroin.

One night, Robby went missing.

"My dad went to file a missing person's report, and, when he did, they told him my brother had passed away in the parking lot of a White Castle."

Former addict and recovery advocate Aaron Marks says he believes "in the disease of addiction."

Marks has been sober for nine years.

His first addiction was also to pain killers when he was just a teen.

In college, at 18, he became addicted to heroin.

It was a two-year battle before he realized he had to make a decision.

"It was laid out for me -- I was either going to die or I was going to get sober," says Marks.

Brandt, his family, and Marks made a point of being at Thursday's heroin summit.

Both have their own reasons.

Brandt doesn't want to see another family, another brother, suffer the way he has.

"Knowing that my brother's not going to be at my funeral. He's not going to be able to take care of my kids. He's not going to be there for me for anything anymore," says Brandt.

"This problem is not going away, and it needs to be addressed," says Marks.

He says he was grateful for the invitation and the chance to speak at today's summit, knowing that he, as a former addict, has answers that these doctors can't find in a textbook.

"A lot of people need help. Some people want to ignore it, but we can't. We just can't," says Marks.