La Crosse, WI (WXOW) - Heroin has become the drug of choice for more drug users in the La Crosse area. This year alone, three people have died from heroin overdoses. Its an issue of concern at local colleges. Not so much drug use among students, but the threat of crimes committed by those using drugs. Administrators are getting the word out to students and parents.
John and Julie Fellegy of Stillwater Minnesota are helping their daughter Laura move into her new off campus apartment at the UW La Crosse. But along with the books and clothes and furniture, they're also sending along some advice.
John says; "You try to do your parental influence. But does it help? Hopefully. We'll see what happens". Julie says: "I think she's pretty well prepared. She's a really smart girl. I trust her judgements."
That advice is especially important this year because of a rise in drug related crimes around campus. Arrests for those crimes, most involving heroin, are up dramatically. From just a few cases a year, to a few cases a week.
Chancellor Joe Gow doesn't want to alarm students or parents, but does urge an awareness of the problem.
Gow says: "Its really a matter of the safety of students in terms of other people doing heroin and needing money to pay for it. They break into apartments and rob people."
The advice goes against instincts of college students to be open to new experiences and to be trusting of their fellow students."
Assistant Chancellor Paula Knudson says parents can play an important role.
Knudson says: "Parents are a partnership with us. A common goal is to help our students be successful as citizens."
That's certainly the case for the Fellegy family. John and Julie are confident Laura has the tools she needs to stay safe. "Sometimes they think they know these things," says Julie. "And of course we worry about them so much. But I think she's pretty smart. She'll make good choices."
And Laura sounds like she's taking the message to heart.
Laura says: "I never leave my iPod out. We lock our doors. We're changing our doors to have a lock on them so no one can get in and touch my stuff."
As the move in process continues over the upcoming weekend, its a conversation many more parents and students should have.
Move-in at the dorms at UW-La Crosse runs through the weekend with some 3,000 students going through the process. Classes start on Tuesday, September 4th.
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