Incident draws attention to drug use

In the wake of a March incident at Durfee Hall in which several students used LSD and cocaine, University officials are attempting to stymie the growing problem of hard drug use on campus.

On March 28 and March 29, two parties involving hard drugs took place in a suite in Durfee, the freshman dormitory for Morse College. The first night’s event, a birthday party, involved cocaine but passed without major incident, while the second night involved four to six students taking LSD and resulted in one student suffering an extremely negative reaction, according to three Morse freshmen with knowledge of the situation. The intoxicated student caused significant physical damage to both himself and his surroundings, having become belligerent after taking the drug, they said. The student who experienced the negative reaction declined to comment, citing involvement in an ongoing Executive Committee investigation.

“While everything was going fine for the majority of the night, one student who took acid began to have a bad trip,” a witness of the incident who requested to remain anonymous said in an email. “The student in question became enraged and began screaming and making a general mess of things.”

He added that the intoxicated student damaged several pieces of furniture, hurting himself and causing a loud commotion in the process. As the episode unfolded, he said, some of the students present proceeded to either exit the suite or lock themselves in their bedrooms. He said no one present was restrained against their will at any point in the night, and Morse Freshman Counselors entered the suite at one point to contain the intoxicated student. The student, who has close ties to the suite, said the students ordered the LSD through the mail and obtained the cocaine through a person not affiliated with the University.

A second student with close ties to the suite denied rumors that the intoxicated student inflicted any self-harm with suicidal intentions.

Police arrived at around 5 a.m., according to one student with knowledge of the situation.

“Very few people were awake to be alarmed, but I know there were people who noticed that things were going on, specifically [in] the suites below them,” he said.

Members of the Yale Police Department could not be reached for comment, and daily crime logs do not indicate any police activity regarding drugs in Durfee during the days in question.

Four Morse freshmen interviewed said the suite where the incident took place has thrown many parties throughout the year, and one added that Morse’s Freshman Counselors had previously sent an email to all Durfee residents regarding complaints about the recent smell of marijuana in Entryway A before the incident.

Another student with knowledge of the incident said the students concerned are not the only people who do hard drugs.

“There are definitely more people that do acid and things like that, so I guess this is more of a wake-up call,”he said. “It is a thing that people don’t really want to talk about, but it’s there.”

The Morse Freshman Counselors declined to comment.

Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Melanie Boyd said she could not comment due to the confidential nature of individual student incidents. Similarly, Student Affairs Fellow Garrett Fiddler ’11 declined to comment on any individual student incidents but said in an email that the Yale College Dean’s Office is thinking more about how to address non-marijuana drug use on campus.

“The online education module for incoming freshmen does include information on a wide range of drugs, but the majority of our office’s efforts have been focused on alcohol because it’s the drug that’s causing by far the most harms on campus,” Fiddler said in an email.

On April 9, Yale Health Medical Director Michael Rigsby MED ’88 sent an email to all University students, warning about the growing prevalence of drug use on college campuses across the country. Rigsby said in the email that his note was prompted in part by a string of events that has caught the attention of several administrators.

“Several recent incidents have raised our concern that the use of drugs such as LSD, cocaine, and heroin is on the rise among college students,” Rigsby said in the message. “All of these are powerful drugs with profound and potentially serious physical and psychological risks … These drugs are not benign.”

Rigsby said in an email to the News that he does not have any data on the prevalence of hard drug use on campus.

“Our concerns are based primarily on individual episodes that come to our attention — usually because of a medical or psychiatric complication,” he said. “But we don’t have any way of knowing about overall prevalence of drug use.”

He declined to comment on any specific instances, citing privacy concerns.

Durfee Hall houses a total of 125 freshmen and eight Freshman Counselors.

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