There is something about a public airing that tends to crystallize a community problem.
Such was the case recently when the Lycoming County Heroin Task Force sponsored a community public information and education meeting.
But there's a twist on the community problem theme.
Heroin is not just this community's problem. It's the nation's problem. And it's everywhere, along with the prescription drugs that often are the gateway to heroin.
So think of our community as a small heroin cavity being carved by the scourge of heroin coming from everywhere. Stopping that flow is a mountainous task.
But it starts with public consciousness and a zeal to solve the problem. About 80 people turned out for the meeting, which is a large number for a Saturday night meeting.
They heard stories from former addicts and local court and medical officials who laid bare how overwhelming heroin addiction's grasp can be.
We doubt since that meeting that the flow of heroin to our community has stopped. It will only stop when no one is buying.
But to get to that step, there needs to be a starting line, and the starting line is people hearing how bad the problem is and resolving to stop it.
That's where our community is now with heroin.
We have to stop accepting that pregnant women are shooting up heroin before a court hearing. We have to stop accepting the ruination of local families of all economic classes because of heroin. We've got to stop accepting teenagers and middle-aged residents giving up on their lives, forfeiting them to heroin. We have to stop accepting the burdens on our justice system that come with all of those scenarios.
We've admitted we have a problem. That started with the courageous, pro-active formation of the heroin task force.
We've showed up for our first counseling session.
Now what are we going to do about eliminating the problem?
That's the question all people in this community have to answer with resolve.