Aug 312009
Authors: Matt Minich

The Boulder County Coroner’s Office confirmed Monday that an overdose of narcotic poppy pod tea caused the death of CSU student Jeffrey Bohan, 19, in July.

Bohan, registered as an incoming CSU freshman, died on the morning of July 22 at a friend’s house after drinking a homemade tea made from poppy pods, which contain opium. Consumption of the tea resulted in a morphine overdose, causing Bohan to go into respiratory arrest and later die, Boulder County Coroner Tom Faure said.

Police were called to a house on the 4300 block of Hanover Avenue in Boulder at approximately 6 a.m. after Bohan’s older brother, 21, discovered he was not breathing, said Sara Huntly, a spokesperson for the Boulder Police Department, as reported in the Collegian in July.

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

Though Boulder County saw one other death from opium tea in February, most morphine overdoses are caused by heroin or prescription drug use, Faure said.

“(Tea) is not a frequent method for having an overdose (of morphine),” he said.

The coroner’s office could not determine how much of the tea Bohan drank ,and even if the amount was known, the health community does not know what amount of the tea proves lethal, Faure said.

“You don’t know the potency of the tea that you’re making.”

Kirsten Ward, a coordinator with Mountain Crest Behavioral Healthcare Center, a local drug treatment facility, said that while she was aware of Fort Collins residents using opium tea, she did not see it as a growing trend.

“It’s not something we’re seeing on a regular basis,” Ward said.

On the other hand, one health official on campus was not aware of this issue at all.

“I have not heard students talk about this at all,” CSU’s Director of Research and Health Promotion Lisa Miller said about the opium tea.

While some students experiment with other drugs, the vast majority of drug use by students is limited to either alcohol or marijuana, she said.

Senior Reporter Matt Minich can be reached at

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