On the heels of Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice's admission of cocaine use when she was in college, three of her opponents in the race for New York attorney general said Wednesday that they, too, had used illegal drugs.

State Sen. Eric Schneiderman (D-Manhattan) said through a spokesman that he had used both marijuana and cocaine. Rice admitted to marijuana use several years ago.

"Like many others who grew up in the late '60s and early '70s, Eric regrettably experimented with drugs when he was younger," said Schneiderman's spokesman James Freedland.

Former state Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo, a Manhattan Democrat, used marijuana once during his junior year in college, said Lauren Passalacqua, a spokeswoman.

And Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, a Republican, admitted to trying marijuana.

"Dan tried marijuana a handful of times during college between 1975 and 1978, and what he remembers the most is he didn't like it," said Virginia Lam, a Donovan spokeswoman.

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Rice, who had previously spoken about her use of marijuana while in college, told the Daily News on Tuesday about her cocaine use. She wouldn't comment further Wednesday.

"Kathleen said openly and honestly that during college she experimented a handful of times with marijuana and cocaine," said Eric Phillips, a Rice spokesman. "It occurred more than two decades ago."

Phillips said Rice admits "it was a mistake and she regrets it." He added that Rice has "witnessed the corrosive impact drugs have on families and on neighborhoods."

Two other candidates, Assemb. Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester) and former prosecutor Sean Coffey, another Westchester Democrat, said they had not used illegal drugs.

"I got myself through the '60s without ever having used marijuana and cocaine," Brodsky said.

Coffey said: "The only drugs I've ever seen have been in evidence bags as a federal prosecutor."

The attorney general candidates join a considerable list of politicians, including another district attorney - Cyrus Vance of Manhattan - who have admitted to the use of illegal substances.

Steven Greenberg, a pollster at the Siena Research Institute in Loudonville, N.Y., said Wednesday's admissions are unlikely to hurt the candidates.

"My gut tells me that voters are much more concerned about what a politician says they will do to help their lives, rather than what a politician did in college or high school," Greenberg said.

Lawrence Levy, executive director of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, agreed that the admissions of drug use probably will not affect the outcome of the candidates' campaigns.

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"I don't think for someone of her age, running in a moderate state like New York and running in the Democratic Party, this is much of an issue," Levy said. "Millions of people were doing the same thing in an era in which it was very, very common."

Still, Jeffrey Reynolds, executive director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in Williston Park, cautioned against taking any illegal drug use lightly.

"Nobody who became addicted ever planned to go headlong down that road," Reynolds said. "Those kinds of disclosures are positive if you talk about the possible consequences [of such drug use]. Marijuana in particular is a game changer. For young people, it teaches you how to identify a dealer and how to hide use."