- Attorney General Ashley Moody penned a letter to President Joe Biden requesting that he declare fentanyl a weapon of mass destruction
- Florida has experienced a rash of local fentanyl overdoses, coming close to surpassing state total for 2021 just seven months into 2022
- State leaders met in early July to discuss strategies to deal with the influx of counterfeit drugs into the state
- It was confirmed to The Capitolist that a task force will be created in Gadsden County, the crisis’ epicenter, to try and eradicate contraband drugs
Following a series of fentanyl overdoses and deaths in Florida’s local communities, state Attorney General Ashley Moody is calling for counterfeit fentanyl to be declared a weapon of mass destruction.
Moody is encouraging President Biden to utilize executive authority or ask Congress to designate fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction. Should the substance be deemed as such, it would require federal departments like the Department of Homeland Security, Justice Department, and Pentagon to work in tandem to combat the opioid crisis, presumptuously expediting the response.
“We are seeing mass incidences of overdoses, primarily fentanyl, occurring at an alarmingly exponential rate,” said Moody on Fox News on Tuesday morning. “We’re seeing this because in Mexico, these drugs are being manufactured in mass quantities, and because of the open border, and the narco traffickers who are having free reign across our border, there is plenty of supply here in the United States, and that makes it readily available and extraordinary cheap for these drug dealers to then lace it with other substances.”
The U.S. government defines a weapon of mass destruction as a “nuclear, radiological, chemical, biological, or other device designed to damage a significant number of people.” According to the Office of the Attorney General, fentanyl “is very likely a feasible choice for a chemical weapon assault.”
“Relying on non-state criminal actors and terrorists to think or act as expected is a losing proposition. The reality is that the deadliness of fentanyl combined with its sheer availability in Mexico to criminal cartels and non-state actors makes it an increasingly likely weapon for use,” Moody wrote in a letter to the President.
A consortium of Florida’s top leaders in early July met to discuss drug prevention strategies in Gadsden County nine people in the span of four days died after overdosing on fentanyl. The influx of illicit drugs has led to a statewide fatal overdose count that comes close to matching 2021’s total number in just seven months.
State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo, First Lady Casey DeSantis, Gadsden County Sheriff Morris Young, Interim Commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Mark Glass, and Secretary of the Department of Children and Families Shevaun Harris collectively brought attention to the influx of counterfeit drugs entering Florida at an increased rate compared to prior years. Through investigation, the group stated that the drugs collectively originate south of the border before being shipped to hub cities like Atlanta, then filtering to communities in North Florida.
Glass claimed that 30 percent of drugs going through lab testing protocols return counterfeit, indicating that a higher concentration of drugs entering communities poses an even larger threat to public health and safety.
“Friday when I left here that afternoon, fentanyl was not in my vocabulary,” said Sheriff Young. “We were afraid we’d wake up in a week’s time with 30,40,50 people dead.”
In response to the crisis, Gadsden County police officers are receiving training in Narcan administration, a prescription medication used to treat opioid overdoses when medically necessary. Young announced during the roundtable that the Gadsden Law Enforcement Office now possesses 300 units of the medication, and will permit officers to carry doses while on duty for their own safety as well as the safety of those at risk.
Young also verbally confirmed to The Capitolist that on July 28, leaders will meet in order to discuss the creation of a new task force team for future drug overdose prevention in Gadsden County. Young did not, however, detail whether the group would be internal within his Police Department or administrated through state resources.