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Coloradans remember loved ones on first National Fentanyl Awareness Day

Coloradans remember loved ones on first National Fentanyl Awareness Day
Coloradans remember loved ones on first National Fentanyl Awareness Day 02:26

Sunday at Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Denver, the chairs — which sat empty just off to the side of the main stage meant to memorialize victims of fentanyl poisoning — stood starkly in contrast to the chairs set up in front filled with their loved ones left behind. 

One of those chairs was for Ashley Romero.  

"In 2018, I lost my oldest daughter, Ashley, to half a pill that was laced with fentanyl," mother Andrea Thomas said. "It took her life almost immediately." 


Andrea organized Colorado Fentanyl Awareness Day. In the hot sun, parent after parent got up and shared their story about how fentanyl destroyed their family. 

"When something like this happens to you, you'll see your family fall to the ground," Thomas said. 

Most victims remembered at the event were not junkies or drug users. Many were normal people who made one mistake. Like Braden Burks who suffered from insomnia and was poisoned when he took a pill thought was going to help him sleep.  

"He thought that his friend had prescription pain killers. His toxicology report revealed only fentanyl," said his mother, Tami Gottsegen. 

Or Madeline Globe who was a senior at the University of Colorado when she took a pill she got from a fellow student that she thought would help with anxiety. 

"She thought naively she was taking an authentic Xanax," said her mother, Susan Globe. 

Andrea says it is stories like these that show just how widespread a problem fentanyl is. She wants everyone to take the threat seriously. Even if you think your family is not at risk. 

"Talk to your kids right now. Like right here and right now," Thomas said. "Sit down with your family, be open, ask your kids what they know. Tell them about the dangers of fentanyl. Tell them that these dealers are looking for them on social media, and not to believe them." 

Colorado was one of 28 states where families held events on Sunday for Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness Day. 

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