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Colorado Springs woman speaks out after losing boyfriend, roommate to fentanyl

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Mara Cohen still remembers the moment she met Andrew Riviere, almost exactly eight years ago.

Cohen was in middle school and went with a friend to the Riviere's house for an Easter gathering.

"We were all just hanging out jumping on the trampoline. We were all like crazy little kids," Cohen remembers.

They ended up at different high schools, but they kept in touch.

"I actually had like the biggest crush on him at the time in high school," Cohen shared. "It was just crazy to me that somebody like him could remember someone like me."

The two started dating after high school and eventually moved in together. Andrew's younger brother, Stephen, moved in with them months later.

"We were like a family," Cohen said, adding that they all took care of each other.

Cohen remembers Andrew having the biggest heart. She said he was always thinking of others and was so adventurous.

"He kind of really helped me become more spontaneous and more like willing and open to adventure and everything like that," she said, remembering a time they raced to the sand dunes in the middle of the night. Andrew wanted to get there in time for her to see the sunrise. It's her favorite memory of him.

She remembers Stephen feeling like a big brother, even though he was technically younger than her. Cohen said Stephen was the smartest person she's ever met.

"He wasn't always the most like, emotional person on the outside, but like with me and Andrew, that's kind of the side of him that we got to see," Cohen added.

One day last summer, Cohen left to spend some time with her mom. She said she woke up feeling like something was wrong.

When she came home, she didn't see the boy's car and assumed they weren't there. Once she got inside, her cat pushed their bedroom door open slightly

"I saw them at first and something didn't look right, so I pushed the door open and like I felt like... I just felt my soul leave my body," Cohen remembers, saying she screamed and then called 911.

Stephen and Andrew were both unresponsive, with first responders unable to revive them.

"My first thought was that they were like really sick or something -- because that's just how unlikely in my head it was for them of all people, for that to happen to them," Cohen said.

Cohen later learned the two had died after taking fentanyl. She remembers talking to them about drugs before, but she said that neither of the boys ever expressed interest in trying them. She still wonders what happened that night.

"I wish I know it was going through their heads because I knew them so well -- like I knew everything about them," she said. "The one time I'm not with them, something happened."

Cohen has leaned on the boys' mother, Shelly, for support ever. She said she doesn't know where she'd be today without her.

"It feels unfair to me sometimes that I'm the one who has her now, but I'm really grateful, and I wake up every day thanking God for her," Cohen said of Shelly.

Together, the two are taking this tragedy one day at a time, trying to process such an immense loss.

"They were the most genuine, honest, kind, giving people -- and to have those people taken away from this world, even for people who don't know them, I feel like it's a big loss. I feel like the entire world is missing out," Cohen said.

Cohen hopes their story will encourage parents to have more open and honest conversations with their kids about the dangers of fentanyl. She hopes more people will understand just how lethal this drug can be, and how it can impact anyone.

The number of fentanyl deaths has doubled every year in El Paso County since 2017, with more than 100 people dying from the drug in 2021. The El Paso County Coroner said the community now needs to assume that any drug not coming directly from a pharmacy contains a lethal amount of fentanyl.

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reports it takes just 2 milligrams of fentanyl to kill an adult, that amount can fit on the tip of a pencil.

Author Profile Photo

Sydnee Scofield

Sydnee is a Senior Reporter and Weekend Anchor for KRDO NewsChannel 13. You can learn more about her here.

Comments

12 Comments

  1. you can buy test strips online..no one wants their kids to be doing drugs, or even themselves, but testing your stuff can save your life and others lives.

    1. Getting test strips will give a false sense of security and still encourage drug use. That is not acceptable. Stay away from the “stuff” altogether.

  2. “Together, the two are taking this tragedy one day at a time, trying to process such an immense loss.”
    .
    It was unfortunate, but certainly not a tragedy.
    .
    These young men knowingly and intentionally chose to abuse drugs. That is a bad decision, and also illegal. Breaking the law and abusing drugs has consequences. Those consequences do not equate to a tragedy.

    1. Always the default answer is They were such good kids and never did drugs. I remember when I was young and dumb so many parents didn’t think their kids were doing drugs and they were the ones selling them to everyone else.
      The GF had to of known that they did drugs. But of course she wont admit it.

  3. I’m so tired of hearing this 2mg thing. Someone can die with 200 micrograms, 1/10 the dose. And also the 200 mcg in iv form is 10ml…. so yea…

    1. Yes, it’s POSSIBLE for some people to die after taking 200 micrograms, but that’s the exception rather than the rule. It depends on many factors, including what else in in their system. So go with the 2mg number of you want to be accurate, and go with ZERO if you want to be safe.

  4. wait until Biden strikes down Ti tle 42. Not only will we be flooded with more il legal immigrants needing all kinds of as sistance, but the drugs will flood in even worse now.

    1. Tïtle 42 is contrary to the immigration laws of our country. Well-planned immigration reform is the answer, not picking at little things one at a time.
      And most street drugs come in through legal ports of entry, not with illegal immigrants. So don’t confuse the two issues.

  5. So let me get this straight, we work our collective rears off to legalize mmj then these igits go and start using something like this, screw em let em die, maybe this is natural selection.

  6. Hey Mom. They are no longer kids. They made their choice. Now live with it. They were probably born Democrats anyways, so it might be a good thing they are no longer here to vote.

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