Fentanyl Linked to Deaths of 5 Adults in Colorado as Overdoses Reach ‘Epic Proportions’: Officials

By Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.
February 22, 2022 Updated: February 22, 2022

The deaths of five people in Commerce City, Colorado, on Feb. 20 were likely related to fentanyl, according to Adams County District Attorney Brian Mason.

The bodies of the five people were discovered shortly before 4 p.m in an apartment inside the North Range Crossing apartment complex after an apparent overdose, authorities said.

Commerce City is located in Adams County, about seven miles northeast of Denver.

While officials have not yet determined the cause of death, police said they recovered narcotics that had a presumptive positive test result for the presence of fentanyl, a highly addictive and deadly drug of which just a two-milligram dose can prove fatal.

“Although the investigation is still ongoing, it appears the five adults ingested the suspect fentanyl and succumbed to the narcotic,” police said.

District Attorney Mason told Colorado Public Radio that the scene inside the apartment was like something “out of a nightmare, like a homicide scene.”

He said that the five people who died likely thought they were taking cocaine and that police are finding more and more fentanyl mixed in cocaine and other drugs.

“The evidence on scene was lines of powder on glass mirrors consistent with cocaine and not fentanyl,” Mason said.

“They essentially dropped dead where they were. They didn’t have time to call for help,” Mason said. “We’re finding fentanyl in cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine and oxycontin and, even in limited circumstances, we found it in marijuana. This is a huge public safety crisis.”

Mason said he fears that the same batch of drugs containing the fentanyl could still be in circulation around Commerce City and encouraged parents to talk to their children as ingesting the drugs could cause more deaths.

“I want parents to know that they need to talk to their kids,” Mason said. “I’m terrified that other people have these drugs from this particular dealer and they could ingest them and they could die. Fentanyl is dangerous and it’s lethal and it’s fast.”

The five bodies discovered on Sunday were identified as three women and two men between the ages of 24 and 32, Commerce City Police said.

Another adult female and an infant who was about 4 months old were in the apartment but both survived and are expected to be fine, police said.

Commerce City Police Chief Clint Nichols said that the baby’s mother was among the deceased, KUSA reported. It’s unclear if the baby’s father was among the deceased.

An investigation into the incident is now underway and the Drug Enforcement Agency is involved.

Commerce City Police said that use of the drug intentionally or unintentionally, and the subsequent overdose deaths associated with its use has “reached epic proportions in Colorado.”

Meanwhile, Mason told Denver7 News that Fentanyl is “ravaging” Adams County, describing the drug as “extraordinarily dangerous.”

“It’s lethal and it’s fast,” Mason said. “Drug cartels love fentanyl. It’s good for their business model. It’s cheaper for them to make. It’s easy for them to distribute. They can lace it in all of their other drugs, like cocaine, like heroin.”

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said that as of Feb. 21, it had recorded 1,659 drug overdose deaths among Colorado residents in 2021, according to Denver7 News. Of those deaths, 803 involved fentanyl in some form.

The deaths come after an analysis of U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data by nonprofit group Families Against Fentanyl showed that overdoses from the drug were the top killer in adults aged 18 to 45 in 2020 in the United States, overtaking suicide, vehicle accidents, and gun violence.

More than 100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in the 12-month period ending in April, according to CDC data, with fentanyl involved in almost two-thirds of those deaths.

Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.