Another meeting scheduled on drug epidemic

A town hall meeting to educate residents about the impact drug abuse and overdoses have on the community next week in Muncy will feature first-hand accounts and testimonies from experts.

The meeting at the Paul Geringer Social Hall, 213 N. Main St., is a coordinated effort by the Lycoming County Heroin Task Force, the West Branch Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission and state police. In attendance also will be police chiefs from departments in Muncy Township, Montgomery, Muncy Borough and Hughesville.

Muncy Township Police Chief Christopher McKibben and others will give presentations that emphasize how drug addiction affects not only families, but the economy as well, according to Nancy Butts, Lycoming County President Judge and chairwoman of the heroin task force.

The Muncy venue was chosen because businesses in eastern Lycoming County suffer everyday from drug abusers who steal to feed their habits, Butts said, citing the millions of dollars retailers like Target and stores in the Lycoming Mall lose every year due to drug-related thefts.

“They take that stolen merchandise and exchange it for drugs,” Butts said, adding that retailers recoup that money by raising prices, affecting us all. “This isn’t just a breaking-into-houses problem. It’s ripping off Sam’s Club and Target.”

Butts said the local drug abuse epidemic also isn’t just an issue in Williamsport. That’s why the town hall meeting will include testimonies from various specialists, such as a drug recognition expert from the state police and Dr. Gregory Frailey of Susquehanna Health.

A local victim of drug abuse and a recovering addict will be there to tell about their experiences, too, offering a perspective from the other side of the problem.

After the presentations, attendees can reach out to the individual participants and ask questions, Butts said.

The event is from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Monday.

Doors open at 6 p.m.