Jul 282009
 
Authors: Stacey K. Borage

Jeffrey Bohan, the CSU student whose body was found in Boulder on July 21, may have died after ingesting narcotic poppy tea, investigators said earlier this week.

Police were called to a house on the 4300 block of Hanover Avenue in Boulder at approximately 6 a.m. after his older brother, 21, discovered Bohan, 19, was not breathing, said Sara Huntly, a public information officer for the Boulder Police Department.

“The older brother estimates they went to sleep at about 4 a.m.,” Huntly said. “Between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., (Bohan) went into medical distress,” meaning he wasn’t breathing.

Because this investigation is still open, Boulder Police will not release the older brother’s name.

Bohan drank an unknown amount of poppy pod tea with his older brother at approximately midnight on July 21 at a friend’s house, Huntly said.

“Prior to both the brothers going over to the Hanover address, they consumed tea they had made from the poppy pod,” she said. The Boulder Police does not yet know the location where they drank it.

Even though Bohan consumed the potentially lethal tea, until toxicology reports come back in two weeks, Boulder County Coroner Thomas Faure will not make the assumption that his death was caused by an overdose on poppy pod tea.

“They may have consumed other drugs; we don’t know if there were any other circumstances,” Faure said. “It’s still in the midst of the investigation, and we’ve made no ruling on it yet.”

Once the poppy pod tea is in the system, it is converted into morphine, Faure said. The drug suppresses respiratory functions, which may ultimately lead to death. According to poppies.org, the tea contains other psychoactive drugs including codeine, papaverine and thebaine, all potentially lethal.

The strength of the tea, made from either fresh or dried opium poppy pods, depends on how it is brewed, according to the Web site.

There is no way to know the potency of the tea Bohan drank, Faure said, adding this uncertainty increases the difficulty of knowing if you’re going to overdose on the tea.

Boulder police said there is no evidence the use of poppy tea is becoming a popular drug trend when asked about another recent case in which a 20-year-old male was found dead in his Boulder home on Feb. 22 as a result of an opium overdose from drinking poppy pod tea.

CSU Spokesperson Dell Rae Moellenberg said Bohan was a CSU freshman, and even though he had not signed up for classes in the fall 2009 semester, he was still listed as an active student.

Staff writer Stacey K. Borage can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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