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University of Rochester President Warns Students About Drug Use

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Rochester: University of Rochester President Warns Students About Drug Use
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Drugs on college campuses are pretty common, according to University of Rochester grad student Ebony Harrison.

"Recreational drug use like marijuana and coke are discussed, but not hard drugs like heroin and crack," Harrison said.

Drug abuse is now a topic on U of R's campus following the death of a student.

University president Joel Seligman said within hours after the death of Juliette Richards, he received emails saying it could be a drug overdose, possibly heroin.

Richards was 19. Her official cause of death hasn't been determined, but it hasn't stopped the speculation.

"I think people are talking about drug use on campus more, but I don't think it will last. It's a very topical discussion as of right now, but as of next year this won't be much of an issue unless something like this happens again," Seligman said.

Seligman wants to stop any drug use. He's urging any student that's dealing with drug addiction to come forward for help.

"These are drugs that can kill and if you're on them, please get help and if you're aware of someone who's taking these drugs, no matter the form, please reach out to our counseling and other services, which can intervene."

He says students that come forward can expect confidentiality. Seligman says the university's goal is protect and save lives.

"I rarely feel such urgency as I do on this issue. The loss of a single student is the most terrible tragedy that can be set on a university."

A recent study by the University Health Service Survey revealed a small number of U of R undergraduates have used heroin, which is surprising to some students who say drugs aren't even discussed on campus.

"I think like across the bridge there's a lot of selling and using, but not on campus. We don't talk about it much," said senior Kendra Hester.

For that less than one percent that admitted to drug use, Seligman pleaded with them to seek help.

"When lives are on the line , and we're dealing with consequences like this, I'm going to make a special effort to reach out and say, when this much is at stake, let's all help ourselves."

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