Officials state heroin epidemic not an issue on-campus, in Village

An increase of heroin use in the region has been reported after a trade network from Philadelphia to Rochester was discovered and shut down by authorities, according to the Democrat & Chronicle. 

Geneseo, however, has remained relatively unaffected and has yet to witness the spikes seen in other local communities, according to Chief of University Police Thomas Kilcullen. 

Kilcullen noted that University Police did not record any incident involving heroin or any opioid on-campus to date. He emphasized that UPD would be ready for any incident and all officers have been equipped with Narcan, a substance used to help treat opioid consumption.

The Village of Geneseo has not encountered any substantial issues with heroin use either, according to Geneseo Village Police Chief Eric Osganian. 

“We haven’t seen much of an increase in the last nine months,” Osganian said. “Before that we had a lot of issues, but we haven’t had a lot of reported issues in the last nine months. That isn’t to say that there aren’t issues. I know the county is dealing with a lot of issues, but in the village [itself], we don’t have a lot of reports.”

These issues run cycles and there is no particular reason why the village has experienced fewer cases of heroin abuse in comparison to the country, according to Osganian. 

 Heroin is often used by people older than the typical college age group, providing an explanation as to why the drug does not face a higher rate of use on-campus, according to Alcohol and Other Drug Program Coordinator Sarah Covell.

“Nobody starts out with a needle in their arm. Most of the people actively addicted to heroin started very young with other substances and are not in college,” Covell said. “I know people who have been addicted to heroin who didn’t go to college, went to work, were injured on the job, were prescribed opioid painkillers, became addicted to those and then progressed to heroin because it was cheaper.”

Some students, like history and political science double major sophomore Kate Huppe, feel that heroin isn’t a problem at Geneseo. 

“I have not heard of anything happening on the Geneseo campus, but I know there have been some people from the class I graduated high school [with] who have died from an overdose, which is in Monroe County,” Huppe said. “Part of college culture [seems to be] borderline alcohol[ism].”
     Some students are concerned about the possibility of an increase in cases of overdose in students and interactions with people in the village allegedly using heroin, although these are currently not frequent occurrences.

History major senior Chase Chiamulera recalled an encounter with someone showing the signs of heroin use while at Byrne Dairy. He also knew someone that overdosed on the drug.

“Judging off of what I’ve seen, [heroin use is not a big issue in this area],” Chiamulera said. “I know one person who [overdosed] but I didn’t know him particularly well.” 

Resident assistants are one of the most used resources for preventing opioid use at Geneseo, directing students in need to available resources on-campus, according to Covell.  Covell described resident assistants as the “frontline” for help, and students have the option to come to her office so they can figure out the best way to deal with their problem.

Assistant Resident Director senior Christopher Callery discussed adequate procedures to follow if a resident were to need help as a result of substance abuse.

“We get trained on having conversations about addiction, about drug and alcohol consumption, and about, to some extent, party culture,” Callery said. “If you find someone dangerously intoxicated and they need medical attention, then following up with a conversation about addiction, things of that nature [is paramount].”