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Tracy Mitrano

Tracy Mitrano

Democratic congressional candidate Tracy Mitrano issued a statement Tuesday admitting that she smoked marijuana and used powdered cocaine 40 years ago while attending college.

The statement was issued by the Mitrano campaign as Spectrum TV posted a story on Mitrano in NY State of Politics, citing a December 2014 blog where Mitrano said she had used drugs as a young adult.

“As a seven-year blogger for a national higher education journal of record, I discussed numerous topics of public interest — including topics such as illegal drug use and trafficking that has had such a deleterious impact on the lives of many people,” she said. “I felt that my perspective could add to an understanding of the breadth of the problem we now face as one of the most serious in our country today,” Mitrano said in a prepared statement.

“One of my posts made reference to a time almost 40 years ago in the late 1970s when as an undergraduate at the University of Rochester I experimented with cannabis and powder cocaine. The death of an acquaintance in a fatal car crash as a result of his drug use gave me insight into the personal and social perils of illegal drug use, and the severe adverse effects that the drug trade has had on individuals, families and society in general in the United States,” the Mitrano statement concluded.

Mitrano was declared the winner of the five-way June 26 Democratic congressional primary after absentee ballots were counted last week.

A cyber-security expert, Mitrano, worked for Cornell University for about 15 years, most recently as director of Internet Culture Policy and Law. She wrote an educational blog, Inside Higher Ed, for seven years ending last September.

In a separate April 2016 blog, she wrote, “Let it be known that I am no prude. Because ‘everyone was doing it,’ I tried marijuana when I was 15. I snorted powered (sic) cocaine in college,” Mitrano wrote. “I drink more than the daily recommended allotment for women of one ounce of alcohol a day. But I am also deeply sickened by watching generation after generation of young people lost to drug abuse.”

Mitrano told Spectrum TV she “has seen three family members and friends die from drug overdoses more recently.”  

She criticized “how drugs are handled in the United States and believes in the federal legalization and regulation of cannabis, federal funding for addiction treatment centers, vigorous law enforcement to confront the illegal drug trade, and governmental and private civil action against pharmaceutical companies.”

The Tom Reed for Congress campaign wasted no time tipping reporters to the Spectrum posting. A campaign spokesman said “these are clearly concerning revelations.”

National Republican Campaign Committee spokesman Chris Martin said, “Tracy Mitrano’s history of illegal drug abuse is troubling — but her proposal to bring heroin injection sites to the 23rd District is downright dangerous.”

(Contact reporter Rick Miller at Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)