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The Villages
Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Urging President Joe Biden to take action on a new ‘weapon of mass destruction’

Attorney General Ashley Moody

Last week, I urged President Joe Biden to classify illicit fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, a WMD is defined as a nuclear, radiological, chemical, biological or other device that is intended to harm a large number of people. In 2018, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate assessed that “fentanyl is very likely a viable option for a chemical weapon attack.”

We have seen a meteoric increase in deaths across the country related to fentanyl, and this month alone Florida has seen two mass fentanyl overdose events. Last Tuesday, in Tampa, police responded to a convenience store where seven individuals were found unresponsive after consuming drugs laced with fentanyl. Over the recent Fourth of July weekend in Gadsden County, at least 19 people overdosed on fentanyl. Back in March, five West Point cadets overdosed on cocaine mixed with fentanyl while on spring break in Wilton Manors—exposing a first responder who also overdosed attempting to resuscitate the cadets.

According to reports, more than 75,000 Americans died last year due to opioids, with the primary killer being fentanyl. Now, more than 200 Americans die every day from opioids, and fentanyl is the number one killer of adults aged 18-45, claiming more young lives than cancer, car accidents, COVID-19 or suicide.

Classifying this deadly drug as a WMD enables and requires more parts of the federal government to coordinate a uniform response, including the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Defense.

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.—and save countless American lives. I am urging the president to take immediate and decisive steps to protect Americans from this poison flooding into our country. I am committed to doing everything in my power to stop this deadly substance, and we will continue to raise these alarms, to build a Stronger, Safer Florida.

Ashley Moody is attorney general of Florida.

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