Full house for Elmbrook Heroin Task Force’s summit

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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. The Elmbrook Heroin Task Force was created in an effort to curb this epidemic, and an informational summit was held on Wednesday, January 22nd in Brookfield at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center.

Heroin is a drug that has become a part of suburban life -- and a drug that has broken the heart of more than one mother.

Laura Pulsifer is leading the push to show heroin use in Waukesha County is a real problem. Pulsifer's motivation is her son, Luke -- who died of a heroin overdose this past summer.

"I went up to him and 'Luke, Luke' and felt him and he felt cold. He hated being cold. The Medical Examiner's report came back and it was a heroin overdose," Laura Pulsifer said.

Luke Pulsifer died at the age of 19, after he had been clean for 10 months.

"People are out there, and either afraid to talk about it or ashamed to talk about it -- or they don't know what to do. Hopefully (the summit) is going to break that wall of shame around the issue of heroin," Laura Pulsifer said.

Laura Pulsifer says she knew the heroin issue was bigger than just her son. At his funeral, a dozen people came and whispered in her ear that they knew someone with the same problem.

The Elmbrook Heroin Task Force's summit was held on Wednesday, and it drew a crowd of about 600 people.

"This is definitely what the Task Force was envisioning and personally, it`s an answer to prayer," Julie, who lost her son to heroin told FOX6 News.

The statistics become personal when you learn Luke Pulsifer was one of 10 people to die as a result of heroin in Waukesha County in the first half of 2013.

Another 15 died from prescription opiates, which can pave the way to heroin.

"Numbers are one thing but when you can put a name and a face and a personality with one of those numbers -- that really changes it because it`s personalized," Luke Pulsifer's teacher, Chris Guthrie said.

Wisconsin has launched "The Fly Effect" campaign to teach about the dangers of heroin.

The state Assembly just passed four bills unanimously to help combat the epidemic.

"The police won`t arrest this problem away. Counselors won`t therapize this problem away. Parents won`t love this problem away. We have to work together," Laura Pulsifer said.

CLICK HERE to visit TheFlyEffect.com to learn more about the dangers of heroin.