Elmbrook Heroin Task Force created to bring awareness to problem

BROOKFIELD (WITI) -- In 2012, the state of Wisconsin counted nearly 200 heroin-related deaths. The number is alarming, but the geography is equally as disturbing. Now, there's a new effort to show that heroin in the suburbs is a real problem.

19-year-old Luke Pulsifer was born about two weeks before Christmas -- so keeping a Christmas tree close helps to keep the good memories even closer.

"Luke was born in Colorado, so we wanted to get a Colorado blue spruce tree," Pulsifer's mother, Laura said.

Pulsifer's mother says it is impossible to forget the last moments of her son's life.

Heroin put an end to Pulsifer's life this past summer. His mother discovered her son slumped over in his room. He showed some vital signs, but the overdose proved fatal.

His father Lee says Pulsifer was clean 90 days before.

"There are no other words. There is just horror. Horror -- that's the only word that comes close to what that moment -- every moment has been like," Lee Pulsifer said.

"Our family died last summer right along with Luke. Our family is different now. It doesn't feel right," Laura Pulsifer said.

Pulsifer's parents reached out to people, including Pulsifer's teacher, Chris Guthrie. Along with other educators, they established The Elmbrook Heroin Task Force.

"We don't want this to happen to any of our students. One is too many. We don't want any other parents to go through what they're going through right now. We wanted to see -- what can we do to make a difference," Guthrie said.

"When it comes to that dreaded 'h' word -- I think no one wants to talk about that," Laura Pulsifer said.

The mission of the Elmbrook Heroin Task Force is to educate, prevent use and bring awareness to the drug as part of suburban life -- partnering with local, county and state law enforcement officials to get the message across.

"Police can't arrest the problem away and counselors and therapists can't therapy the problem away, schools can't educate the problem away. We all have to work together," Laura Pulsifer said.

"I absolutely believe with the number of people we'll be able to reach that lives will be saved," Guthrie said.

The Elmbrook Heroin Task Force is holding an event on Wednesday, January 22nd beginning at 6:30 at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts in Brookfield.

Everyone is welcome to attend.