COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A second Ohio State University student has died, OSU president Kristina Johnson announced Friday, following a Wednesday incident in which three students apparently overdosed on drugs.
Three students were taken to the hospital Wednesday after an apparent drug overdose. One student died Thursday, and this second student was in critical condition. A third student was released from the hospital. The university has not named any of the students.
“It is with an incredibly heavy heart that I share that our second student who was hospitalized in critical condition has passed away,” Johnson wrote Friday. “Every Buckeye loss is heartbreaking, and these tragic deaths in our community in such a short period of time are devastating.”
The university’s first announcement on Thursday alerted students to the potential circulation of fake Adderall pills that appeared to contain fentanyl.
Just before 11 p.m. Wednesday, a woman called 911 to report what appeared to be a drug overdose by three of her roommates on East Lane Avenue.
Dennis Pales, co-founder of the Safety Outreach Autonomy Respect (SOAR) initiative, sent out the original warning about a bad batch of drugs going around campus.
“College students are especially at risk of common party drugs or just common recreational drugs that they are using that may be laced or just are fentanyl,” Pales said.
SOAR is a student run organization whose mission is to prevent overdoses in the Columbus area. Students can anonymously sign up for SOAR notifications to find out when and where there is a bad batch of drugs.
Pales said Columbus Public Health told him about reports of circulating fentanyl-laced Adderall pills, and the notification was later picked up by the university and posted across social media.
“This is actually the first time that the university has sent out an alert that we sent out,” Pales said.
The message has students like Aimee Gershberg shaken. She said that notification came unexpectedly to both her and her parents.
“I do know a lot of people participate in certain activities, and it makes me nervous for the people that I know and love and also just everyone on campus,” Gershberg said.
To prevent future overdoses, Ohio State is giving out free Naloxone kits and fentanyl testing strips at the Student Health Services building located at 1875 Millikin Road. Gershberg is taking advantage of that resource so she is prepared should something happen to someone she knows.
“I just was at the health center, and I got an email that they are giving away fentanyl testing strips, so I picked up a couple,” Gershberg said. “I promise I don’t do drugs, but I know a lot of people.”
Ohio State is encouraging students in need of emotional support to contact the Office of Student Life’s Counseling and Consultation Service. Faculty and staff can reach out to the Employee Assistance Program.
The Columbus Division of Police’s Drug Crime Bureau is investigating this incident.
For residents in central Ohio, text SOAR to 614-768-7627 to receive notifications about reports of overdose surges or dangerous batches of drugs. Visit SOAR’s website for more information.