COLORADO SPRINGS — Earlier this year, a 16-year-old boy in Colorado Springs took a life-ending dose of Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is more than 80 times stronger than morphine. Court records show his mother provided him the money to buy the pills and connected him and his friends to the people selling the drugs, knowing all the while what he was doing.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, the pharmaceutical version of Fentanyl was developed for pain management for cancer patients. But the DEA also notes the drug is often diverted for abusive purposes – added to heroin to make for a stronger high.
On January 31, Colorado Springs Police Officers responded to a home on Templeton Gap Road for an overdose death. There, they found the boy unresponsive, along with various drug paraphernalia, and a bag containing two blue pills marked “M 30,” which are expected to test positive for Fentanyl.
According to an arrest affidavit obtained by FOX21, the victim’s mother, Maria Cecilia Davis-Conchie, connected her son and two of his friends, also minors, with two drug dealers named Marlene McGuire and Doug Floyd. Apparently, the three boys believed they were buying percocets that day, a well-known pain management opioid.
According to El Paso County Coroner Leon Kelly, at this point, it’s best to assume drugs bought on the street are tainted.
“With what we are seeing here at the coroner’s office, you have to assume that any illicitly acquired drug has fentanyl,” Kelly said.
And, he said, Fentanyl is so dangerous, the amount that could hurt or kill the user is incredibly small.
“Small amounts of fentanyl – grains of sand of amounts of fentanyl – because it is such a potent drug, has the potential to be lethal in individuals that haven’t been exposed to opioids, that don’t have a tolerance of it,” he said.
In 2021, El Paso County saw more than 100 fentanyl-related deaths – which was a record. But Kelly said 2022 is already on track to surpass that mark.
But many times the people who are buying these drugs don’t know what’s really in them, which can lead to unintentional overdose or death.
DanceSafe, a non-profit harm reduction organization promoting health and safety, is offering a way to protect those who choose to partake.
They offer fentanyl test strips to the public that detect the presence of the opioid, not its potency or purity. The organization sells the strips for $2.09 for one, a pack for roughly $20, and more. They can be purchased by clicking this link.
And many are now questioning the penalties involved for anyone who is selling Fentanyl.
HB19-1263 lowered the penalty for controlled substances, possession offenses, and substance use.
Per court documents, Davis-Conchie had been providing illegal drugs to her son and his friends for months, to include: Xanax, marijuana, and Fentanyl. At one point, documents say, one of the boys Davis-Conchie sold to had a scare and required hospitalization after overdosing on Xanax.
Davis-Conchie is now facing charges including contributing to the delinquency of a minor, special offender, drug felony, and unlawful distribution of a schedule II controlled substance.
But even with the lowered penalties (in some cases, based on the amount and other factors), the two dealers Conchie-Davis connected to her son and his friends are now facing federal charges.