Columbus Police identify students who passed away from drug-related overdose
The Columbus Division of Police have released the names of the two Ohio State students who died from a drug-related incident at an off-campus house Wednesday night.
Columbus Police identified Jessica Lopez, 22, and Tiffany Iler, 21, as the two students who died. The identification comes five days after these students, along with one other, were hospitalized for an overdose. According to the Columbus Police report, they are still investigating what caused the overdoses.
Just before 11 p.m. Wednesday, the Columbus Division of Fire was alerted and responded to a 911 call from a house on E. Lane Avenue and reported the three overdoses, according to a recording of the call obtained by The Lantern.
Columbus Public Health reported an increase in overdoses caused by fentanyl-laced Adderall pills around the campus area Thursday.
Iler and Lopez were transported to Ohio State Medical Center and the Ohio Health Grant Medical Center in critical condition Wednesday, according to the police report. Lopez and Iler both passed away Thursday and Friday, respectively.
According to the police report, the third student was treated and released from the hospital Thursday.
According to Iler’s LinkedIn page, she was a fundraising volunteer for BuckeyeThon and a member of the Delta Zeta sorority since 2020. Iler, a third-year in neuroscience from Broadview, Ohio, also volunteered with Meals on Wheels as well as Seeds of Literacy, where she helped adults learn math and pass their GED.
According to an Ohio State Eportfolio in 2019, Lopez — who was studying computer and information science and a Lawrenceburg, Indiana-native — liked to run, make crafts and read when she had the time. Lopez’s parents are originally from Mexico, and she had friends and family who still live there.
The Lopez family and Ohio State’s Delta Zeta chapter declined to comment.
The deaths prompted universitywide emails from University President Kristina M. Johnson. Johnson said in the emails that the university is mourning their losses, and students should keep Lopez, Iler as well as their friends and family in their thoughts.
“During this time, we ask you to remember all of our departed buckeyes, their friends and families,” Johnson said in the email Friday. “Care and compassion are among our most treasured values — and they are never so needed than in times of grieving.”
Senior Vice President for Student Life Melissa Shivers also sent out a universitywide email Thursday about the dangers and resources available on campus to overcome drug abuse. Shivers said in the email that she hopes as students celebrate the end of the school year that they “consider safety.”
“Being a Buckeye can certainly be something you want to celebrate,” Shivers said. “And it’s also important that you plan ahead and educate yourself about safe, healthy, responsible and legal ways to have fun.”
If anyone has any information regarding the overdoses that occurred off-campus, they should call the Columbus Division of Police at 614-645-4545.
Pills such as Adderall — a medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to increase one’s ability to focus — can contain the synthetic opioid fentanyl, which can lead to overdose or death, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Shivers said students should consider the university’s Party Smart campaign — a program designed to teach students how to stay safe when partying, using drugs or drinking alcohol. Shivers provided several of the campaign’s recommendations for students, including how contaminated drugs result in a severe reaction or even death.
Additional resources regarding drug use and the Party Smart campaign can be found on the Student Wellness Center website.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, there are resources available:
- Substance Abuse Mental Health Association 24/7 national helpline: 800-662-4357
- Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services 24/7 careline: 800-720-9616
The Lantern is waiting for more information and will update the story once it’s available.