PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The mother of a Portland teen who died in a fentanyl overdose is now suing the person accused of selling drugs to her son.
Kerry Cohen is suing Manuel Espinoza on behalf of her son, Griffin Hoffman, who was one of two Portland teens to die in March as a result of fentanyl-laced pills, Portland Public Schools reported earlier this year.
The wrongful death lawsuit was filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court and seeks more than $500,000 in damages.
The lawsuit alleges the 16-year-old Hoffman died as a direct result of taking fentanyl-laced drugs sold to him by Espinoza earlier this year.
Michelle Stroh, a mom who also lost her son to unintentional fentanyl poisoning a couple years ago, is frustrated that the problem is only getting worse.
“I can’t bring my son back,” Stroh said. “I’m trying to save the other kids, but I don’t know how else to reach them. We’re doing Tiktoks and we’re doing Snapchats and we’re doing all these things where the kids are, but they’re still not getting it.”
Stroh said there’s beginning to be more civil lawsuits like this around the country to try and stop fentanyl sales.
“I actually think this is a great idea to start showing some accountability,” she said. “You’re gonna try this one pill that you think is something else, and you’re gonna pay with your life.”
Espinoza is currently behind bars facing several criminal charges, including conspiracy to distribute fentanyl resulting in death.
There’s also a lot of discussion at the state level whether to increase sentences for fentanyl dealers when their sales ends up with a death.