SAYRE - The Saturday, Jan. 26, "Substance Abuse Community Forum" held at the Robert Packer Hospital Patterson Auditorium attracted a full house. Attending were concerned parents, law officials, area clergy, school officials, doctors, judges and even coroners who provided important statistics and ideas on how to better handle the numerous drug and substance abuse problems affecting our counties.

Rev. Michael Hughes, Guthrie Chaplain, opened the meeting with a prayer and welcomed all, followed by a statement of purpose by Pastor Anne Canfield, of Waverly United Methodist Church. After an overview of medical concerns by Dr. Michael Scalzone, Guthrie Healthcare, a slide presentation by Bradford County Coroner Thomas Carman showcased the severity and deadly consequences of illegal use of drugs.

Noted during the presentations was the increasing use of "Bath Salts," a name given to a highly toxic form of methamphetamine (speed) that is regularly shipped in from China and/or produced in the states. It was noted that a person's bodily temperature can go as high a 104-degrees under "Bath Salts" usage and rise even higher to fatal consequences.

An overview of legal implications by Bradford County Judge Maureen Beirne followed by presentations by Joy Bennett, Tioga County Probation, and Stewart Bennett, Tioga County Corner, both of whom re-emphasized the magnitude of the drug problem the areas is facing.

Three school superintendents, Diane Place, Athens Area; Joseph Yelich, Waverly Central; and Dean Hosterman, Sayre Area; combined for how to better face drug issues on a daily basis and the concerns of parents, teachers, students and administrators at area schools.

Small group discussions with leaders of the community and concerned citizens followed the superintendent's presentations. A discussion of setting goals to help alleviate problems was facilitated by Rev. Michael Hughes, Guthrie Chaplain. Father Glenn Mahaffey, Church Of The Redeemer, explained his hopes and ideas for a "recovery community," while an invitation to join Valley Hope followed with Pastor Canfield, who also said the closing prayer.

The Daily Review will zero in on assisting the community substance abuse forum by speaking with the individuals who made presentations at the forum in coming issues. The ideas and recommendations that came about from the forum will be featured in future issues of The Daily Review.