Note: This article may contain commentary reflecting the author's opinion.

Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of state Attorneys General from across the country signed a letter urging the Biden Administration to classify Fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction as the drug kills thousands of Americans each year.

“Dear Mr. President: As attorneys general of our respective states, we are deeply involved in the fight to end the national opioid crisis,” the letter to the White House began. “Collectively, as a group on a bipartisan basis, we recently concluded several large, historic settlements that will give each of us resources to battle this crisis.”

“As you well know, the national opioid crisis is not and has not been a static event,” it continues. “Instead, the opioid epidemic in this country has evolved over time from prescription opioids to heroin to synthetic opioids, namely fentanyl. Currently, fentanyl is exacerbating the death toll increasing exponentially every year for the last several years.”

“The purpose of this letter is to propose an unorthodox solution that may help abate or at least slow the crisis’s trajectory while also protecting Americans from a mass casualty event from fentanyl,” the 18 attorneys general explained. “We ask that you consider classifying illegal fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction or, if you conclude you do not have authority to do so, urge Congress to pass legislation to do so.”

Fentanyl has been pouring over the southern border as chemicals from China and India fuel their production in Mexico leading to record numbers of interdictions of the drug, according to the New York Times.

“Due to the low cost of production, inherent lethality, and vast availability of the substance, fentanyl would be an ideal choice for bad actors to use as a chemical weapon,” the letter read, adding, “We are aware of scenarios that different federal and state agencies have considered utilizing and causing mass casualty events.”

“Just two milligrams of fentanyl is needed to kill an adult, and it can easily be placed in other substances,” the AGs continued. “In fact, it already is—according to reports, at least one-third of illicitly manufactured pills are contaminated with fentanyl—users often have no idea that they are consuming this poison.”

“In addition to different government agencies looking at fentanyl-related scenarios, fentanyl has already been used as a weapon—the Russian army used it to end a hostage crisis two decades ago, killing more than 120 hostages in the process,” the letter explained. “The threat of a state enemy using this drug to do harm to the American people cannot be understated.”

The designation of Fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction would allow Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to coordinate with the Department of Defense (DoD) to combat Fentanyl.

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“Treating this solely as a narcotics control problem has failed to curb the proliferation of increasing quantities of chemicals that can cause a mass casualty event,” the letter stated in its concluding paragraph. “Your own DEA Administrator has called fentanyl “the deadliest threat [the DEA] ha[s] ever seen.” We should treat it as such— thus bold action must be taken.”

“We must not sit idly by until a terrorist chooses to inflict harm using this substance on a large group of Americans—our countrymen are already dying from this poison. We cannot wait for tragedy to strike when proactive steps can be taken now to preserve American lives,” the letter concluded, adding, “We urge you take immediate and decisive action and declare fentanyl a weapon of mass destruction.”

President Biden has allowed drugs to flow across the open, unsecured southern border and Americans are suffering the consequences. In 2020 alone, there were 56,516 overdose deaths primarily from the deadly drug.

Both Democrats and Republicans agree that Fentanyl is a destructive drug that is endangering American citizens. President Biden should take action by listening to the state attorney generals even if he won’t secure the border. A half-measure is at least something. 

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