- Families Against Fentanyl, an activist group focused on raising awareness of the dangers of fentanyl usage, applauded Attorney General Ashley Moody’s request that the White House declare fentanyl a weapon of mass destruction
- The group cited statistics that show more than 100,000 Americans died as a result of opioid overdoses last year
- In early July, 9 people in Gadsden County, Florida died following fentanyl overdoses over the course of four days, nearly surpassing 2021’s totals.
- Law enforcement leaders estimate that approximately 30 percent of fentanyl shipments that enter the U.S. are deemed fraudulent, and more susceptible to inducing overdose, once tested
Families Against Fentanyl (FAF), a group raising awareness of the risks associated with fentanyl, extolled Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s request to the federal government to designate the illegally-produced narcotic as a weapon of mass destruction.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a record 107,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses and poisonings last year. Illicit fentanyl toxicity was the leading cause of mortality for American individuals between the ages of 18 and 45 in 2018, according to a FAF review of CDC data published in December 2021.
“FAF welcomes Attorney General Moody’s urgent call to have illicit fentanyl declared a Weapon of Mass Destruction, and applaud her for taking this powerful stand,” James Rauh, FAF founder, as reported by Fox News. “Weapon of mass destruction designation currently has bipartisan support in Congress. With A.G. Moody’s announcement today, the movement continues to grow.”
Moody last week encouraged President Joe Biden to utilize executive authority or ask Congress to designate fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction, a step that would enable various sectors of the government to more adequately tackle the issue of illegal substances crossing the border.
Should the drug be deemed a weapon of mass destruction, government agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department, and the Pentagon would be required to cooperate in order to work to stop the drug from entering and circulating within the United States.
“We are seeing mass incidences of overdoses, primarily fentanyl, occurring at an alarmingly exponential rate,” said Moody on Fox News. “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.