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Hobart and William Smith Colleges respond to reports of overdoses

Nov 18, 2019

Police in Ontario County are looking into whether seven non-fatal overdoses this weekend are connected.

Early Sunday morning several law enforcement agencies responded to 7 overdose cases, which they believe may be connected to fentanyl.

Five overdose cases were in Geneva in just over two hours.  Two other cases were reported in Canandaigua.

Geneva Police Chief Michael Passalacqua says this was a very stressful situation for everyone involved.

“When you deal with a scene like this or scenes, especially when they’re coming in, in this fashion, they can be hectic, there’s a lot going on, and due to the professionalism and the training and the quick actions of everybody involved, obviously we’re in a place where all 5 of these turned out successful,” Passalacqua said.

The other two people in Cananadaigua also survived. Canandaigua Police Chief Stephen Hedworth says they have two goals with this investigation.

“I’ve never seen it, and I don’t think anybody in this county has ever seen in that short a period of time that many overdoses. So, goal number one, is to identify if they are connected, where this stuff came from so it doesn’t keep getting distributed, so we don’t have loss of life. Goal number two is whoever provided this stuff is to identify those people, so those are our two goals, Hedworth said.

Police credit Narcan and quick response for saving their lives in those overdoses.

Three of those who overdosed were male students at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Hobart and William Smith released this statement on Monday:

The Colleges are always working to ensure that our students have the tools and resources they need to be safe. To that end, we provide education, prevention and counseling services so that HWS community members can make responsible choices. Please see our website for additional information: https://www.hws.edu/studentlife/health_promotions.aspx. We are grateful to our staff and to the first responders and EMTs for their efforts in this situation.”

In another statement released on Sunday, college officials told the campus community, that “If you or someone else appears to be intoxicated, unconscious and in need of help, call Campus Safety immediately at 315-781-3333.

As a reminder, the Colleges have a Medical Amnesty Policy. In situations where students call for help for themselves, or a student (or group of students) seeks assistance for another student, the students involved will not be subject to the Colleges’ disciplinary actions for violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies based on ingestion occurring at or near the time of the incident.

The safety and well-being of our community is of the utmost importance. Do not hesitate to call Campus Safety should you need assistance."