UMass to review policy on drug informants

by Rory Sheil / Beacon Correspondent • October 2, 2014

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is suspending the student drug informant program adopted by its campus police department pending a review, according to the Boston Globe.

The review comes less than a week after the Globe published an article revealing that a UMass student who died of an overdose last October was involved in the program.

The student had been caught dealing LSD and “Molly” a year before his death last October, according to the Globe. Instead of pressing charges and notifying his parents, campus police gave him the option of becoming a confidential informant. In a text message to a friend, the student described the job as an offer he couldn’t refuse. The student was offered treatment for his drug problem while working with campus police, but declined the offer.

The Globe reports that the death has prompted concern from UMass students and their parents, who question whether the university did enough to help a student with a serious drug problem and if the university should have made such an offer to a student in a vulnerable position.

The university has publicly defended its confidential informant program, but plans to review its protocol regarding drug treatment and parent notification for future informants, according to the Globe.

Emerson does not use student informants, according to the Emerson College Police Department.