On Monday, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody asked President Joe Biden to classify fentanyl, a lethal synthetic opioid responsible for tens of thousands of deaths nationwide, as a “weapon of mass destruction” (WMD).
The trigger for Moody’s request is the report of two mass overdose incidents in one week in two Florida counties, as well as the rocketing rise in fentanyl-related deaths across the country.
The Attorney General sent a letter to Biden today urging him to take immediate action to stop the fentanyl crisis that is killing hundreds of Americans every day.
The letter demands that Biden classify fentanyl as a WMD, which means involving more parts of the federal government to coordinate a unified response to illicit fentanyl — including the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Department of Defense.
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Alert in Florida
The Florida Attorney General’s Office alerts that last Tuesday, in the city of Tampa, law enforcement officers arrived at a convenience store where seven people were found unconscious after consuming drugs mixed with fentanyl and an animal tranquilizer.
In addition, over the 4th of July weekend, at least nineteen people overdosed on fentanyl in Gadsden County in the northwestern part of the state.
And last March, five West Point military academy cadets deadly overdosed on fentanyl at a vacation rental home in Wilton Manors in the southern part of the state.
Four of the young men in cardiac arrest were found by the city’s emergency services in a Broward County rental home where they were staying for spring break.
In 2019, the DHS had already considered fentanyl a weapon of mass destruction given its high toxicity and the increasing availability of the drug — attractive factors for those seeking unconventional materials for a chemical weapons attack.
Just 2 milligrams of fentanyl can be a fatal dose. It is the number one killer of adults aged 18 to 45, with a 168% increase in deaths among teenagers by 2020, that is, 680 deaths nationwide.
In 2021, 77% of all teen overdose deaths were linked to fentanyl use.
According to the CDC, from May 2020 to April 2021, one-hundred thousand people died in the United States from overdoses, and 64% of the cases involved synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, which comes from China and arrives in the United States from Mexico.
In Florida, in 12 months (October 2020-September 2021), overdoses took the lives of 7,574 people (7,422 a year earlier), a figure only topped in California, where there were 10,098 deaths from this cause in the same period.