A heroin summit, with an invitation to Vice President Joe Biden, Gov. Tom Corbett and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter among other invitees, is scheduled June 5 in Williamsport, according to Mayor Gabriel J. Campana.
At a town hall meeting Monday night in City Hall, Campana did not say where and when the proposed summit would take place, just that he also is inviting U.S. Reps. Pat Toomey, R-Zionsville; U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton; U.S. Rep. Tom Marino, R-Cogan Station; and U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazleton.
In addition, Campana has invited state Attorney General Kathleen Kane, other area mayors and executives of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce.
Campana said the summit is about the heroin and prescription drugs epidemic facing the city and region. He said he took down the basketball hoops for good at Memorial Park last week to "save lives."
"I'm not anti-basketball," Campana said. "This is about children being recruited to join gangs and sell drugs," he said, adding that he wished that City Council Vice President Jonathan Williamson was present after Williamson said he would miss shooting hoops with his 7-year-old son in an earlier statement.
Campana said eradicating the heroin epidemic is his No. 1 priority.
Assistant Police Chief Timothy Miller has posted a rap video on the Internet and played it.
In one verse, a drug dealer says, "As far as I'm concerned you're all losing."
On the video are dealers flashing wads of cash interjected with scenes of basketball players at the Memorial Park site. Of the dealers, Miller said, eight have been convicted, seven of them charged with firearms violation.
"They have a capacity to run a business better than any college graduate," Miller said. He suggested the city faces an "unholy cocktail of adolescent dissatisfaction, peer pressure and the marketing genius of Columbian and Mexican drug lords."
"This is not about kids shooting hoops," he said. "We've reached the point of a crisis and it's no time for politics because our people are dying."