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One Oswego State student is dead and two are being hospitalized after suspected heroin overdoses.
The student who died was found on campus, while the two who were hospitalized were off campus. The announcement came a day after the annual Bridge Street Run festivities unfolded.
Early this morning, Oswego State issued an alert through the SUNY Alert system which stated “Danger: Oswego heroin may be lethal. One person is dead; two are hospitalized. Please beware! Please call police with any information.” The college urges students with information to contact University Police with information at (315) 312-5555. Oswego Police can be contacted at (315) 343-1212.
Danger: Oswego heroin may be lethal. One person dead; two hospitalized. Please beware! Please call police with any information 315-312-5555.
— sunyoswego (@sunyoswego) May 10, 2014
No information is known, at this time, to relate the incidents, but an investigation is underway by UP and OPD.
This comes just two weeks after Sean DeMerchant Jr., 22, was found in his off campus home dead. A Facebook page set up to remember DeMerchant says that he lost “his courageous battle with addiction.”
In a release on the Oswego.edu website, it was announced that on May 12 a SUNY Personal Safety Conference is to be held in East Syracuse. The agenda for that conference is dominated by discussions on opioid abuse, which includes heroin. While heroin abuse is not an Oswego-specific issue, it is one the university was taking steps to prepare for.
“By the grace of God, we haven’t run into anything (heroin use) on campus at all,” Chief of University Police John Rossi said in the same release. “But this transcends all levels of society, and it’s a statewide issue.”
In 2010, the Center for Disease Control reported that 75 percent of the 22,134 deaths related to prescription drug overdoses involved opioid pain relievers.
On May 7, New York State lawmakers passed a bill to expand the supply of an antidote for victims of heroin overdose. Naloxone will be given to rehab centers first and later will be given to family members of addicts. The state Assembly and Senate passed the bill uncontested. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a $5 million funding to give Narcan kits to police agencies across New York.
As this story develops more will be posted here.