UMass Amherst: Not exactly a drug free zone
UPDATE January 24, 2015
My sitemeter tells me a bevy of folks are now coming to this post after doing Google searches for "heroin death UMass Amherst" or something similar, no doubt in response to the ABC 20/20 episode aired last night, which interestingly enough used the same alias for Eric Sinacori as did the Boston Globe, "Logan."
So they can interview his Mom on camera and show his picture, but not use his real name?
And I wonder when the next student dies of a heroin OD supplied by an on campus dealer who was free to ply his pernicious trade because UMPD can no longer use student informants, will 20/20 cover that?
Although nestled in a quaint little New England town, UMass/Amherst, the flagship of higher education in the state, is virtually a city unto itself.
So it's not overly surprising that death on occasion comes calling, even to the young of age.
Last Fall two sudden unattended deaths occurred that were (initially) covered by the local media -- Eric Sinacori, age 20, and Evan Jones, age 19. Although technically Sinacori died off campus in his Puffton Village Apartment.
But since they both died in the town of Amherst the medical examiner files a certificate of death with the Town Clerk, although it takes up to six months.
In Evan Jones case, death was caused by a "seizure."
In Eric Sinacori's case the injury occurred because of "Illicit substance abuse," and the immediate cause of death was, "Acute Heroin Intoxication."
Governor Deval Patrick and Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan have declared war on opioid abuse. At a press conference in late February, DA Sullivan called the surge in drug overdoses, "A public health crisis" while citing, "19 deaths in Hampshire and Franklin counties since November 1st, 2013." (Twice the rate of the rest of the state.)
And since Mr. Sinacori died just prior to November 1st he would have pushed the DA's list to 20 deaths!
Last week in the little town of Deerfield, three individuals were saved from death by heroin overdose over the course of three days by a quick spray of Narcan.
Governor Patrick has signed off on allowing first responders statewide to carry Narcan, as well as friends and family of opioid users (with proper training).
Today UMass graduates 5,500 dedicated young adults who have worked hard over the past few years to attain their degrees. Governor Patrick is the keynote speaker.
I hope he remembers the students who will never make their graduation ceremonies.