Community must declare war on heroin to beat it

Anyone who doesn’t think the intensified presence of heroin and other drugs in our area doesn’t present a chilling threat to our population needs to reread what the Rev. Ronald S. James, executive director of the Williamsport-Lycoming Crime Commission, said last week.

James, an ex-junkie and present-day crime fighter, told a Boot Camp of the Mind seminar of his experiences and gave insight into how pervasive heroin can be for individuals and a community.

He showed those in attendance scars from needles that have penetrated his veins to produce the addictive high of heroin. He warned that the same reality of drugs taking over lives is going on all over our community now.

And there can only be a few outcomes from this drug rampage addiction and death.

“If you people don’t put your feet down, you’re going to see a lot of feet up,” he told those in attendance.

Lycoming County Coroner Charles E. Kiessling Jr. and Sheriff Mark Lusk backed that assertion, commenting that there have been more overdose deaths than vehicular homicides this year.

For those people not part of the drug culture, these sorts of grim statistics and real-life descriptions of the horrors of drug addiction are needed to hammer home just how serious the problem is.

And the only possible solution to the problem is resolute, firm action from every corner of the community. This is not an issue to be divided about, folks. We need everybody, regardless of economic class, political persuasion or social standing.

We salute the efforts of the heroin task force formed by Lycoming County President Judge Nancy Butts and support the emphasis on cleaning up rental properties that the administration of Mayor Gabriel J. Campana and City Council have undertaken.

But more is needed if we are to keep this drug epidemic from swallowing up our community.

Be aware.

Be strong.

Be responsive.

Find a way to help solve this problem.