During an appearance on Newsmax, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) discussed her plan to urge President Joe Biden to classify the drug fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, as a “weapon of mass destruction” (WMD).
On Wednesday’s broadcast of “The Record With Greta Van Susteren,” the Florida AG revealed that she had sent a letter to the president earlier this week following a series of deaths in Florida and across the country caused by fentanyl-laced drugs.
The letter “has really set off a firestorm of folks speaking out, stepping up, saying they’ve lost loved ones,” the Republican attorney general said. “Even Families Against Fentanyl has encouraged this request. They understand we have hit levels … we have never seen before.”
Moody went on to suggest that declaring illicit fentanyl a WMD “allows other agencies and resources to start working along without traditional agencies that go after illicit substances.”
According to the Florida AG, the decision to classify the illegal drug as a “weapon of mass destruction” could also allow the Department of Defense to be included in the fight against it.
“DOD could step in and work with these agencies and direct not only bodies, but additional resources to target this beginning in Mexico,” Moody explained.
“Because of the wide-open border, we’re seeing since Biden took office up to 10 times the American population would die as a result of the amount of fentanyl,” she continued.
Deaths from fentanyl rose to 71,238 in 2021 from 57,834 in 2020, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Drug overdoses have been steadily rising for decades, and the appearance of fentanyl has only exacerbated the problem. According to reporting from the New York Times, “Since the 1970s, the number of drug overdose deaths has increased every year except 2018.”
Fentanyl is such a significant problem because it is so easy to combine with other drugs. As it is a white powder, it is simple to mix with opioids such as heroin, stimulants including methamphetamine and cocaine, and even stamped into ecstasy pills or counterfeit pills for anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax. These mixtures can be lethal because drug users are often unaware that they are taking fentanyl or are unsure of the amount of fentanyl mixed into their drugs.
This isn’t the first time someone has suggested declaring fentanyl a “weapon of mass destruction.”
In a press release sent out on Monday, Moody’s office noted that the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense had previously considered declaring illicit fentanyl a WMD in 2019, citing a memo from former DHS official James McDonnell which stated that the illegal drug’s “high toxicity and increasing availability are attractive to threat actors seeking non-conventional materials for a chemical weapons attack.”
“The federal government already works to disrupt the supply chains of other chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons — it’s not hard to imagine that similar tactics could be used to reduce the flow of illicit fentanyl into the U.S. through cartels in Mexico — and save countless American lives,” Moody said in a statement.