Fresh Ideas to Fight Off Drug Abuse

By Kelly McCarthy

January 26, 2013 Updated Jan 29, 2013 at 1:58 AM EDT

Sayre, PA (WBNG Binghamton) Communities in the Twin Tiers are searching for new and effective ways to eliminate substance abuse.

One event focused on rising drug-related deaths in their area and what the community can do to help.

What started as a blank white easel perched in the center of Patterson Auditorium at Robert Packer Hospital soon filled with lines.

Those lines soon turned to pages of black ink.

All are ideas from a concerned community on how to help fight off drug abuse.

"If we're looking for governmental agencies or if we're looking for law enforcement to solve the drug problem, we're wasting time and we've lost the game. Self accountability and the support of peers, family members and friends are what's going to help in reducing these drug-related deaths," said Thomas Carman, Bradford County Coroner.

He said it's a growing problem in Bradford County.

Thirteen drug-related deaths in 2011 more the doubled to into 36 deaths in 2012.

"Everything from alcohol addiction which is still probably our largest addiction group to controlled substances which is our next significant group,and then this concerning rise in bath salts," said Joy Bennett, Tioga County Probation Director.

Presentations by county coroners, judges and educators explained how drug abuse affects all areas of the community.

"It has personally touched me. I lost my son to a drug overdose two years ago," said Marlene Rohe, of Athens.

Rohe said she wishes there were forums like these to help her fight off her son's addiction.

"I had no resource to turn to, that is the one blaring thing that I realized," Rohe said. "I made phone calls, I went to resources of what I thought were here in Bradford county, I had no one to help me."

She's not the only one who is hoping to change that.

Each table at the forum shared lists of ideas that could be implemented in the community.

"You have a room full of people who care, they want to learn, they want to get involved," Carman said.

And now they all have pages and pages of fresh ideas.

The substance abuse community forum was hosted by The Valley Clergy Association and The Valley Hope.

It is a local drug preventative and support group.