PORTLAND – Oregon prosecutors have asked Reed College officials to crack down on illegal drugs after two student heroin deaths in the past two years.
Reed President Colin Diver met with Dwight Holton, U.S. attorney for Oregon, and Multnomah County District Attorney Michael Schrunk this week at the federal courthouse in Portland to discuss college drug problems.
Diver then sent an e-mail to Reed’s 1,300 students warning them police and prosecutors will be watching them closely and want them to shut down any illegal drug use.
Tougher enforcement is set to start at Reed’s end-of-term Renn Fayre festival, scheduled next weekend. The celebration features games of full-contact human chess, ritual burning of senior thesis notes, softball tournaments and fire dancing. Drug use has been part of the festival in the past.
Holton and Schrunk told Diver that undercover Portland police officers will be on patrol during the fair, which runs Friday through Sunday. Uniformed officers will respond immediately to calls.
The prosecutors also reminded Diver that federal funding – including student loans – can be pulled from any school that fails to combat illegal drug activity adequately.
“It was polite, sociable and friendly, but it was definitely a command performance,” Diver said Saturday, two days after meeting top prosecutors for the first time in his eight-year tenure. “They’ve got some pretty big sticks to hold over our head.”
Holton and Schrunk sent their own e-mail to Reed students Saturday. Drug dealers, they wrote, are increasingly targeting “middle class and wealthier kids.”
Samuel Ira Tepper, 22, died of a heroin overdose in March. Alejandro “Alex” Callery Lluch, 18, died of an overdose in April 2008.