UR President Joel Seligman sent out an email announcement to all students last Friday, addressing the use of heroin on the UR campus. He later held a press conference on campus at on Friday afternoon at 3:30 for the local Rochester news stations, publicly begging students to get the help they need.
Seligman began his email by addressing rumors around campus regarding the death of Juliette Richard, a freshmen who died the previous weekend. It has been reported by many news sources that Juliette Richard died from a heroin overdose or other complications, though nothing has been confirmed by the medical examiner.
“I strongly believe it would be inappropriate to reach any conclusion about the cause of Juliette’s death,” Seligman said in his email.
In the press conference, Seligman spoke directly to the students who were watching.
“These are drugs that can kill,” he said. “And if you’re on them, please get help.”
The use of heroin has been on the rise at universities across the country. A survey conducted in 2012 by the American College Health Association included 76,481 college students from across the country. Of this population, 1,300 admitted to trying heroin, which is approximately two percent. One in five students believe other students on their campus use heroin.
The City of Rochester is also suffering from an increase in cases of heroin overdose-related deaths. The number of such deaths has increased fivefold since 2011, according to a recent report released by the Monroe Medical Examiner’s Office. In 2013, heroin was responsible for the deaths of 65 people in the region compared to 29 in 2012. In 2011, only 11 deaths were attributed to heroin.
In his email to students, Seligman included a list of services that the University offers to students who are struggling with drug addiction. These services include the University Health Services, University Counseling Center, and the CARE network service.
He urged students who know of someone in need of help to report it immediately.
“I encourage all to speak up and save lives,” he said.
Sanguinetti is a member of the class of 2015.