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‘Devastated’ Is the Wake-Up Call We Need

By: Christian Toto

Fentanyl isn’t just a Colorado problem. It’s everywhere, and by all reasonable measures, it’s getting worse.

“Devastated: Colorado’s Fentanyl Disaster” zeroes in on the blue state for a (mostly) apolitical look at the roiling crisis.

Soft-on-crime policies can’t help but elbow their way into the documentary, but the stories of young lives lost to the crisis keep the emphasis where it belongs.

Something must be done. And soon.

“Devastated” opens with a harrowing 911 call.

Five Colorado residents died from taking Fentanyl, a ghastly primer for the crisis in play. We hear from law enforcement, drug counselors, coroners and others on the front lines of the losing battle.

Fentanyl is wildly addictive, fatal in tiny doses and lurking in pills that trick unsuspecting users. Forget crack and Meth. This Opioid is the mother of all drugs, courtesy of Mexican drug cartels too eager to make a profit.

There’s a China connection, too, although that angle isn’t explored in great depth.

The film deftly balances first-person testimonies, statistics and strong visuals to make the case for action. Most of all, we meet the families who lost loved ones from the drug.

Steffan Tubbs (“Denver in Decay”) floods the screen with home movies of those gone too soon, youthful faces brimming with potential.

They’re gone, all gone, and more will join them shortly.

“Devastated” strains to leave politics off screen. The filmmakers tried to interview both Denver Mayor Mike Johnston and Gov. Jared Polis.

Both declined.

Their absence speaks volumes, but the blame often falls on both parties in both Colorado and D.C. An early clip shows a Republican and Democrat joining forces for legislation to defang Colorado drug laws.

Tubbs, formerly a right-leaning talk show host as well as fair and balanced news anchor, can’t help but pin some of the problem on what’s briefly referred to as “one-party rule.” Colorado may have been purple in the recent past, but it’s cobalt blue in 2024.

Who else deserves the blame, especially given the chaos in blue-controlled cities nationwide?

FAST FACT: The CDC says Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and is illegally added to other drugs to make them “cheaper, more powerful, more addictive and more dangerous.”

The Fentanyl crisis could fuel a 10-part docu-series, but “Devastated” proves both efficient and comprehensive. We learn how social media connects teens to the drug, how our porous southern border makes matters worse and the most ghoulish part of the cartel’s mindset.

For every Coloradan who dies from Fentanyl, another 10 customers replace them.

“Devastated” could use a slight trimming, and a few early anecdotes add little to the subject in hand. Otherwise, the documentary moves briskly, balances powerful interviews with chilling facts and is never less than absorbing.

And, sadly, all too necessary.

HiT or Miss: “Devastated: Colorado’s Fentanyl Disaster” is a cultural battle cry to do something, anything to stem the flood of Opioids into the country.

Gripping Documentary on Fentanyl Disaster Set to Premiere Across Colorado

Denver, Colo. — In the midst of an escalating opioid crisis gripping Colorado, a powerful new documentary — “DEVASTATED: Colorado’s Fentanyl Disaster” — is set to premiere May 15 – 18 at four Cinemark theaters across the Front Range.

“If we can get someone — anyone — to discuss the fentanyl epidemic with others after seeing this film, we’ve accomplished our goal,” said Steffan Tubbs, director of the film and President/CEO & Founder of Mountain Time Media.

Tubbs continued: “DEVASTATED is the most important film project we’ve ever completed. The courage shown by these Colorado families is immeasurable – they step forward and share their fentanyl heartbreak in hopes they can spare another family from going through the same.”

DEVASTATED delves deep into the harsh reality that is the fentanyl epidemic. Drug overdose claimed over 112,000 lives in 2023 — 70% of which involved fentanyl. This film tells the stories of law enforcement officers, recovering addicts, former drug dealers, parents who lost children, and many more. Tragic in every way, fentanyl’s impact has touched every corner of the Centennial State.

A digital media kit, including the official trailer for “DEVASTATED” is available here.

While the film focuses on Colorado, every state across America is devastated by the same crisis today. With candid accounts and raw footage, “DEVASTATED” exposes the realities of addiction, overdose, and the broader societal implications of the fentanyl epidemic. From the streets of Denver to the rural landscapes of Colorado, viewers are taken on a journey that confronts what the Drug Enforcement Administration calls, “the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced.”

DEVASTATED is funded by Weld County rancher Steve Wells.

“I funded the film because someone had to do something. I believe we can fix this, but it’s going to take a lot of resolve and courage to stand up and do the right thing,” Wells said. “But everyone — from parents to kids, teachers to politicians — have to get educated about just how deadly this drug is. It’s like swallowing a hand grenade in a tiny pill form.”

“I want to thank Steve Wells for his commitment to making sure Colorado knows about the scourge of fentanyl and its destructive, devastating effects,” Tubbs said. “As one person says in the film: ‘This is not a red or blue issue. This is a red, white and blue issue.'”

About the Premiere

“DEVASTATED: Colorado’s Fentanyl Disaster” will premiere at four Cinemark Theaters May 15-18:

Greeley Premiere
May 15, 2024, 7:00 pm
Cinemark Theater – Greeley Mall

Boulder Premiere
May 16, 2024, 7:00 pm
Cinemark Theater – 1700 29th St

Lakewood Premiere
May 17, 2024, 7:00 pm
Cinemark Theater – 440 S. Teller St.

Colorado Springs Premiere
May 18, 2024, 3:00 pm
Cinemark Theater – Tinseltown
1545 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd.

Each premiere event will feature a screening of the documentary followed by the opportunity to interview key stakeholders in the film and special guests from around Colorado. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage in dialogue, ask questions, and explore avenues for action to combat the fentanyl crisis.

As Colorado grapples with the devastating impacts of fentanyl,  “DEVASTATED: Colorado’s Fentanyl Disaster” serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent need for actionable change to curb this crisis and save lives.

For media inquiries, interview requests, or press passes to the premiere, please contact Allen Fuller at Visit for more information.


DEA links Mexican cartels to drugs in Colorado

Agents from U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Rocky Mountain Field Division on Thursday seized more than 50,000 pills of fentanyl and more than 50 pounds of methamphetamine in metro Denver, one of the biggest drug busts this year so far.

Little else is known about the details of the operation.

What authorities told The Denver Gazette, however, is they’re confident the drugs can be traced back to one of two major Mexican cartels operating in Colorado.

Read more from The Gazette

Fentanyl Public Awareness Campaign Launched by Trucking Cares Foundation

The American Trucking Associations’ Trucking Cares Foundation and Facing Fentanyl have joined forces to sound the alarm about the increasing threat of the illicit fentanyl epidemic.

Cities and towns nationwide are awash in lethal fentanyl.  DEA reports that at least 7 in 10 counterfeit pills are deadly.  Fentanyl poisoning claims the lives of over 70,000 Americans each year, with a fentanyl-related death occurring approximately once every five minutes.  Fentanyl continues to be the number one killer of adults 18-45, and children under 14 are dying of fentanyl poisoning faster than any other age group.

Read more

Fentanyl possession bill fails in Committee

The debate continues about punishing people for having fentanyl versus getting them into treatment programs. Progressives at the Capitol favor treatment, but others say punishment needs to be increased.

Nonetheless, the fentanyl crisis is still having an impact in Colorado, and it is getting worse.

Read more on KDVR

Colorado legislator proposes tougher approach to fentanyl possession

Arguing the status quo has failed to curb overdose deaths in Colorado, a Republican legislator is pushing for legislation to make it a felony for possessing any amount of fentanyl.

In response the overdose crisis, state policymakers in 2022 approved legislation to heighten the felony charges for possession of 1 to 4 grams of any substance containing fentanyl. The criminal penalty increase above 4 grams, an under 1 gram, possession is a misdemeanor.

Continue reading

Follow Colorado House Bill 24-1306 to Increase Penalty Possession of Synthetic Opiates

BILL SUMMARY: Under current law, the knowing possession of any material, compound, mixture, or preparation that weighs more than one gram and not more than 4 grams and contains any quantity of fentanyl, carfentanil, benzimidazole opiate, or an analog thereof, is a level 4 drug felony; except that, if a defendant shows supporting evidence to establish that the defendant made a reasonable mistake of fact and did not know that the controlled substance contained fentanyl, carfentanil, benzimidazole opiate, or an analog thereof, the matter must be submitted to the finder of fact in the form of interrogatory included in the verdict form. If the finder of fact determines the defendant made a reasonable mistake of fact, the defendant commits a level 1 drug misdemeanor. The bill eliminates this provision.

Under current law, the knowing possession of any material, compound, mixture, or preparation that weighs not more than one gram and contains any quantity of fentanyl, carfentanil, benzimidazole opiate, or an analog thereof, is a level 1 drug misdemeanor; except that a fourth or subsequent offense is a level 4 drug felony. The bill eliminates this provision.

Effective July 1, 2024, the bill makes the possession of any material, compound, mixture, or preparation that contains any quantity of fentanyl, carfentanil, benzimidazole opiate, or an analog thereof, a level 4 drug felony.

Update: On March 6, 2024, the Colorado House Judiciary Committee voted 8-3 to postpone HB24-1306 indefinitely.