Colorado mom worries her son died from MDMA cut with fentanyl
Toxicology results pending, family raising money for the funeral
Cindy Morton Price's son Jacob Morton was a fun-loving, rave-going guy. On November 28, he shared a meme on his Facebook page that said, "When I die, cremate me and sell me as k to a bunch of spunions at a nectar show. That way I can see nectar 50 more times."
Three days after that post, on a Saturday morning, a police officer came to Price's door and told her that her son was dead.
Morton's heart stopped at the Beta nightclub in Denver, after reacting to a drug, and he died on the scene, Price said. His two companions suffered similar effects; they were eventually taken to the county hospital. They survived, and were released.
While an overdose death at a club isn't that surprising — there were more drug overdoses last year than any time in human history — Price suspects something highly unusual happened.
Morton and his companions went in thinking they were taking pure MDMA — also known as ecstasy or molly — a drug that is normally not lethal, Price said. But one of Morton's companions tested positive for fentanyl, Price said. Fentanyl is one of the most powerful drugs ever to make it to American streets, and it now contributes to more overdose deaths than heroin.
"I'd like to tell you my son was a saint," Price said, "but he was not."
Still, Price believes her son and his companions were caught by surprise.
"They went in thinking (it was MDMA)," Price said.
The Denver coroner said that an autopsy had been performed, but the results won't be back for weeks. Price said Denver PD tested remnants of the drug the three took, but results could take months.
It's far from clear that fentanyl was the culprit here. No results have come back either from Morton or from the substance itself. But if fentanyl was to blame, this would mark the first time that a person died from fentanyl while thinking they were were taking ecstasy.
Just to be safe, harm reduction experts from DanceSafe and Bunk Police are spreading warnings for people to test their ecstasy for fentanyl. Test strips are cheap and available online.
The idea that drugs sold as MDMA could be lethal rattled some Coloradans. MDMA, which was banned in the mid-80s, is enjoying a renaissance as an adjunct to therapy, and could be legal for use by professionals as early as 2021.
"That shit scares me dude," said one Coloradan who uses ecstasy, who asked that their name not be used.
"I know molly is cut with all kinds of shit, but god help us if they start putting fent in there," said another person who uses the drug, and who asked for anonymity.
Even though the toxicology reporters aren't back yet, Price wants to spread her worries.
"If I thought it would help I'd be at every show telling people," Price said.
Morton has been cremated, Price said, just like his half-joking Facebook post requested. The family is raising money for his funeral on GoFundMe.