On the SUNY Oswego campus, many students are still dealing with the realities of how deadly heroin can be. Three students overdosed last month and one died during the annual Bridge Street Run weekend. Current student Evander Russ appreciates that Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to increase drug education on SUNY campuses but Russ said waiting until young people get to college may be too late.
"Preventing all the necessary steps that lead to someone wanting to use that, it has to happen way, way beforehand. Telling us now, the majority of us say - we know - heroin is bad," said Russ.
Cuomo wants heroin education to be a part of all SUNY school freshman orientations and support staff will be trained on drug abuse warning signs. At SUNY Oswego, university police are also equipped with the heroin overdose drug Narcan. University vice president for student affairs Jerald Woolfolk says colleges have a real chance to make a difference with drug abuse issues.
"We're not going to sugar coat it, we're not putting any icing on it, we're going to hit it straight dead on because this is a really serious epidemic and whatever we can do to make our students safe and healthy, that's what we're going to do," said Woolfolk.
State and university police will be working together to study drug trafficking patterns. SUNY Oswego student Mark Shapiro says he hopes colleges also help students on the issues that led them to drug abuse.
"Work with them. Why would you want to do that? Let's talk about it. Let's get to the core of why you are doing this," said Shapiro.
Cuomo says he wants to make sure any student with a drug problem can get treatment - and will support anonymous and no-fault drug reporting.