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After 9 recent deaths at USC, students criticize letter sent by school

9 USC students have died this school year
9 students have died at USC since the start of fall semester 00:44

A student-only community meeting was held on the USC campus Wednesday night following the release of a letter sent by the university regarding the recent student deaths. CBS Los Angeles reports a letter was sent out to every USC student discussing mental health and the dangers of opioid use.

"I think it was weirdly written," said one student. "The first part of the letter was about mental health and then they kind of slid in there, 'Oh, by the way, opioids may kill you.'"

Another student told CBS Los Angeles: "I think they're trying to push the responsibility off and not be held accountable for student deaths."

The letter comes one day after a student was found dead off-campus Monday.

It read in part, "We need you to be aware of the dangers posed by drug use. In particular, we want you to be informed on the dangers of abusing opioids."

Nine students have died since the fall semester began in the last week of August.

So far, three of the deaths have been confirmed as suicides and the other six were under investigation.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that they were looking into the possibility that some of these deaths may have been drug overdoses.

The letter stated, "In addition to the direct effects of each substance, drugs shared for recreational use can be mixed with other substances to increase its effects, sometimes without a user's knowledge," they wrote. "This practice is rising and is linked to overdose and death."

"These losses have shaken our community and our sympathy goes out to the families and friends who are mourning loved ones," the letter read.

The Undergraduate Student Government hosted the community event exclusively for students to talk about the state of campus mental health.

Students in need of immediate help were encouraged to call USC's 24-hour wellness line at (213) 740-WELL (9355). Anyone concerned about a friend or fellow student can communicate their concern through Trojans Care For Trojans.

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