West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has joined a multistate bipartisan effort urging President Biden to classify fentanyl as a Weapon of Mass Destruction.
The 18 state attorneys general demand the president take decisive action in response to the record increase in overdose deaths related to the lethal substance nationwide.
“This deadly synthetic opioid is mainly being funneled through our unprotected southern border—Chinese chemical manufacturers are making and sending the raw ingredients to make fentanyl to Mexican drug cartels, which are in turn making and trafficking fentanyl on an industrial scale,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “But in the face of this evolving and significant problem, the federal government has seemed content to stand by. This is a matter of life or death and we need to treat it as such.”
In a letter sent Thursday, the coalition calls for the president to name fentanyl a WMD.
The attorneys general says this action would require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Drug Enforcement Administration to coordinate a response with other agencies, including the Department of Defense—as opposed to the federal government only treating the substance as a narcotics control problem.
The group said they are troubled by the threat this substance poses to the nation. 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, said the attorneys general.
“Just two milligrams of fentanyl is needed to kill an adult, and it can easily be placed in other substances. In fact, it already is—according to reports, at least one-third of illicitly manufactured pills are contaminated with fentanyl. In addition…fentanyl has already been used as a weapon. The threat of a state enemy using this drug to do harm to the American people cannot be understated,” the attorneys general wrote in the letter.
More than 75,000 Americans died from overdose of synthetic opioids, mainly fentanyl, in the 12-month period ending in February 2022. This substance is now the No. 1 killer of adults aged 18-45.
Attorney General Morrisey joined this Florida- and Connecticut-led letter with his counterparts in Arkansas, Guam, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.