Steamboat couple testifies at state senate on fentanyl crisis

Parents stress to lawmakers their daughter was poisoned

The Globe family of Steamboat Springs, including mom Susan, Maddy and dad Alden Globe pose before Maddy’s senior prom in 2014.
Globe family/Courtesy photo

Steamboat Springs couple Alden and Susan Globe testified in Denver in front of the Colorado Senate on Tuesday, April 26 in support of legislation for stricter sentences for illegal fentanyl dealers and more funding for criminal investigations and education.

Yet, the family’s top focus was for lawmakers to know they consider the death of their only child, Maddy Globe, to be a poisoning.

“It’s a poisoning because she was given something she did not ask for, and it killed her. It is a poisoning and not an overdose,” Alden Globe said on Monday. “As much as we think we are getting the word out there, people don’t really understand how dangerous this is; schools don’t really understand how dangerous it is.”

The couple knows their daughter was not a drug user but she still became one of many victims impacted by the dire warning, “one pill can kill.”

Maddy, a 2014 Steamboat Springs High School graduate, obtained a supposed Xanax pill from a fellow University of Colorado Boulder student because she was stressed about entering her senior year in college. That illegal pill was laced with fentanyl and Maddy did not wake up after taking that one pill in August 2017, her parents said.

“People are just used to taking pills for everything, so they don’t think this could be a fake,” Alden said.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fentanyl exposure led to the death of 903 people in Colorado in 2021, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment database.

Maddy’s death certificate, completed by the Boulder County Coroner’s Office, states her cause of death as “mixed drug intoxication” and manner of death was “accident.”

Resources to help parents, teens learn about fentanyl

Local educators recommend the powerful documentary “Dead on Arrival,” either the six-minute teen version or the 20-minute full version, to watch and learn more about the fentanyl crisis. Drug prevention nonprofit links to the video and provides resources and a toolkit.

“I would like to see legislation that makes it possible to retroactively update coroner findings in fentanyl cases to more correctly state ‘fatal poisoning,’ where that is appropriate. Many of the families before you today share this desire,” Alden testified.

The Steamboat couple were both asked to testify by the nonprofit advocacy group Blue Rising Together. Susan also testified to lawmakers during a video-connected hearing on April 12. Colorado lawmakers advanced House Bill 22-1326 Fentanyl Accountability and Prevention to state senate hearings.

The bipartisan bill “makes the unlawful possession of any material, compound, mixture or preparation that weighs more than 4 grams and contains any amount of fentanyl, carfentanil or an analog thereof a level 4 drug felony.” Unlawful distributing, manufacturing, dispensing or the sale of any material containing fentanyl or equivalent would be a level 1 drug felony if it weighs more than 50 grams and a level 2 drug felony if it weighs more than 4 grams, the bill draft notes.

The Globe family, from left, Maddy, Alden and Susan, together at Thunderhead Lodge in 2015.
Globe family/Courtesy photo

Alden’s testimony advocated for changes to “begin mitigating the carnage we see across our state.”

“Fund fentanyl education and awareness across the state, especially in our schools, where the danger of the new threat landscape facing our students is not sufficiently understood. Develop a legal accountability plan that can address the complicity of social media,” said Alden, a software engineer. “Push for consistent fentanyl data collection by law enforcement and first responders using ODMap, the overdose detection mapping application. Collection and analysis of this data will enable public notification of community spike alerts, a step that will help raise awareness and save lives.”

Experts know that obtaining illegal medications or opioids is as easy as finding a dealer on Snapchat and having the illegal drugs delivered as one would a pizza.

Local educators hosted a program for students and then for parents at SSHS on April 11. Susan told her daughter’s story to fellow parents at the evening presentation. Maddy’s story also was documented in an ABC News television feature.

Susan said the support of family members and friends has been key to her coping strategies that include regular outdoor exercise and her continuing a part-time gardening job since 2013 at the Yampa River Botanic Park. The park is home to “Maddy’s Garden of Light,” a memorial featuring white flowers.

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