There typically is not a problem with heroin use on the university. According to Chief Scott Rohde of the UW-L police department, this could be because there is always a high police presence on campus.
Rohde states that this drug is more readily available in bigger cities. Heroin use typically depends on a person’s personal behaviors and life experiences, including hometown (big city vs. small town). Heroin is not common to the typical demographic of the UW-L student, Rohde says.
Heroin use is on the rise in many areas of the United States, commonly bigger cities such as Minneapolis/St. Paul, Madison, and Milwaukee. Even though La Crosse is not a big city, it is still prone to high amounts of heroin use.
Heroin is an opioid drug synthesized from morphine, a substance extracted from the Asian opium poppy seed.
Between the years 1995-2005 the amount of Americans age 12-17 trying heroin increased 300%. This number continually increases. It could be due to the cost of heroin now decreasing compared to years past.
Rohde mentioned if heroin was cheaper for college students to attain, it may be more desired by the college population. This does not decrease the amount of watch police officers have towards the drug however. As of recently UW-L seems to be an “island,” says Rohde. This means that even though there are frequent amounts of heroin use going on around the university, there haven’t been cases of the drug on campus.
A man from Madison allegedly sold La Crosse County resident Tom Treiman heroin on September 6, 2013. Treiman then overdosed from this drug and the dealer will be tried in La Crosse County with first-degree reckless homicide under the state’s Len Bias law.
In St. Francis, MN, a smaller, northern suburb of the Twin Cities, three teens have died because of heroin since May 2012. There were an additional three more hospitalized. One student at the high school stated there were at least 20 students using heroin in the last year. Parents of the teens who overdosed fear there will be many others who unfortunately follow.