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Mother Wants Justice After Son’s Fatal Overdose at UMass

The Boston Globe on May 16, 2015, reported on the story behind the tragic death of Eric Sinacori. Drug War Facts editor Doug McVay wrote about the case for Ladybud magazine in October 2014.

Sinacori had been a student at the University of Massachusetts when he died of a fatal heroin overdose in October 2013. Eric Sinacori had been arrested for small-scale sale of LSD and ecstasy after an undercover drug operation conducted by the UMass campus police department. Faced with possible expulsion as well as criminal charges, he made a deal and agreed to become a confidential informant for the campus PD -- not the local department, county, state, or federal authorities, the campus police department. Sinacori made a controlled buy of drugs from a fellow student, resulting in that other student's arrest. That student probably decided not to become a confidential informant, because he was tried and convicted on the charges.

The fact that the campus police was running undercover drug operations created a stir in the college community. Eventually, the outcry was such that the school was forced to abandon the policy. It may not be widely known that at many campus departments, their officers are more than just security guards who do parking enforcement; they're sworn, fully authorized law enforcement officers, who carry weapons and engage in actual law enforcement activities. Whether or not that level of power is appropriate is a question that is rarely asked.