One SUNY Oswego student died Friday of a heroin overdose, and two others were hospitalized. Police are investigating if tainted heroin is to blame. As Candace Hopkins reports, a push is on to warn students about the dangers.
OSWEGO, N.Y. -- With the end of another school year just around the corner it should be a time for celebration at SUNY Oswego. But the community is instead in shock, after three students overdosed on heroin Friday, leaving one dead.
By Saturday morning the school sent out widespread warnings to students, telling them that potentially tainted heroin was present in the community.
"We have bam, bam, bam, in close proximity and time, overdose situations and we don't know if there's going to be more, so it was urgent to get the word out," said SUNY Oswego Director of Public Affairs Julie Harrison Blissert.
The two surviving students were found off campus. The student who died was discovered in a residence hall. Oswego police said there were immediate signs of a connection between the three incidents. And that having three all happen at once has prompted the concerns about a possible batch of tainted heroin.
"Until we can get some medical results and some lab tests we're not going to know if it was a matter of too much heroin or if it was a matter of there's something wrong with the heroin,. Again there's no such thing as safe heroin, but out of an abundance of caution we want people to realize this is a concern," said Oswego police Chief Tory DeCaire.
Investigators now are working to find the source of the heroin, in hopes of determining why its effects have been so powerful. And they say even if it wasn't tainted, the public needs to know how dangerous doing any kind of heroin is.
"I don't want to dilute the message, the message here has got to be that there's a dangerous substance out there, whether it's tainted, whether its just heroin that you would find on a daily basis, it's a dangerous substance," said DeCaire.
The overdoses occurred the same day as a SUNY Oswego end of the year tradition, the Bridge Street Run, a bar hop that runs throughout the city. Police said all three overdose victims were wearing shirts from the event.
Oswego police are asking anyone who has information about this incident to contact them. They can be reached at (315) 342-8120.
Families of SUNY Oswego students may call (315) 312-3214 from noon to midnight Saturday and Sunday.