SCOTTSBURG, IN (WAVE) - By now, most of us have gotten the message that Kentuckiana is dealing with a serious and growing heroin problem, but day after day it continues to cost families heartbreak as loved ones lose their battle. A Scott County family wants to share their struggle in a very public way to catch the eyes of others.
Just off Highway 31 in Scottsburg, among the signs advertising puppies and appliance repair is another sign that doesn't share an ad, but a serious message.
"That next high, that next thrill might be your last," said Todd Pulliam of what he hopes drug addicts will understand when they see the billboard.
Pulliam and his family know the truth behind the message in their minds, and unfortunately, in their hearts as well.
"My son, he's no longer here, he doesn't any longer suffer from the effects of addiction but we'll always suffer that because we lost him to an overdose," explained Denise Pulliam, Todd Pulliam's wife.
Their son, Sawyer Pulliam, 22, a father, son, brother and fun loving man, was found dead in his car of an overdose in November of 2012.
"The day it happened and my dad called me, my life just changed," said his brother, Brandon Pulliam.
On the billboard, Sawyer's family advertises their pain.
"I want to put a face to addiction and let people know it is real," Todd Pulliam said.
"We don't know how he got there and how we got here but we just have to do something now to help someone else," said Denise Pulliam.
Lori Croasdell, the Coordinator of CEASe in Scott County, which stands for the Coalition to Eliminate the Abuse of Substances, said the billboard is helping.
"I have not had one family do what they're doing in this community and we've had dozens have their children lose their lives," she said.
The cost of addiction in human lives in just the last four years, Croasdell said was more than 50 people. What the Pulliams want you to know is that you and your family don't have to be among them.
"I want people to realize that addiction affects all facets," said Todd Pulliam. "It doesn't just affect someone in a dark alley somewhere."
"They don't have to be ashamed," Denise Pulliam said of both addicts and their families. "Not being ashamed is the first place that you have to start to get help."
Sawyer Pulliam's billboard directs people to the CEASe website. Croasdell said the site includes resources like support groups, ministries and treatment facilities.
The billboard will stay up for at least six months, to remind addicts one more high could be fatal.
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