Story does not define the great people of Nanticoke

This is how Nanticoke was described in a recent Penn Live story about the opioid addiction problem facing towns large and small across our nation: “If you were to knock on people’s doors here, you will get all old people and addicts. That's it. That's what you get.” Obviously, the reporters didn't knock on too many doors in our community.

If they would have knocked on an East Union Street door, they would have met a physician who developed a way to feed patients without having to go through their digestive systems. His technology has saved literally millions of lives.

If they ventured over to West Ridge Street to knock on doors, they would have met the family of a recent high school graduate currently enrolled in the United States Military Academy at West Point.

They could have knocked on the Slope Street door of our mayor, who is currently battling an aggressive acute myeloid leukemia. He would have told them of the hundreds upon hundreds of Nanticokians who have supported him and given him hope during his ordeal.

They were welcome to knock on the Center Street door at the House of Rhone on Thanksgiving morning, where they would have been welcomed with open arms to help prepare and deliver hundreds of meals to the less fortunate in our town and surrounding communities. There, they would have been joined by professionals, blue collar workers, retirees and students of all ages volunteering to better our area.

I would have ushered them to a South Walnut Street home where they could have met a family who is near single-handedly working to reform prison safety so that our corrections officers can return home safely after protecting our communities.

They could have knocked on an East Main Street door where they would have met students training in a state-of-the-art medical facility so they could later provide dental, emergency medical service, surgical and respiratory care for people throughout our region.

If they would have spent any time in Nanticoke, the doors they approached would have been answered by police officers, loving families, doctors, lawyers, veterans, school teachers, community activists, fellow reporters, students, corrections officers, public servants, doting grandparents and so much more than the "old" and "addicts."

I do not deny that Nanticoke, like virtually every other city its size, is experiencing a problem with drug use. But that does not define our community. We are working to help those addicted and educate those who are not. I am confident the great people of Nanticoke will persevere through this crisis and our city will remain a great place to live, work and raise a family.

(State Rep. Gerald Mullery serves the 119th Legislative District which includes part of Luzerne County consisting of the city of Nanticoke and the townships of Dennison, Foster, Hanover, Hazle, Newport, Plymouth, Rice, Slocum and Wright and the boroughs of Freeland, Jeddo, Larksville, Nuangola, Plymouth, Sugar Notch, Warrior Run, West Hazleton and White Haven.)