Tennessee AG urges Biden to classify fentanyl as ‘weapon of mass destruction’

Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 3:39 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) – New Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti has joined a multi-state effort to urge President Joe Biden to classify fentanyl as a “weapon of mass destruction.”

Skrmetti has joined a group of 18 state attorneys general to demand Biden take “decisive action” in response to a record spike in fentanyl-related overdose deaths, a media release said.

“Fentanyl has caused too many tragic deaths on an individual level and, as we have seen overseas, it can also be weaponized to cause mass casualties,” Skrmetti said in the release. ”Our governments at every level must take a broad-spectrum approach to protecting American lives from the harms of fentanyl.”

This would require the 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 attorney generals are deeply troubled by the threat this substance poses to the nation,” the release said. “Fentanyl is cheap to produce, inherently lethal, and easily available- all factors which make it attractive to those who might seek to use it as a chemical weapon … 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 … 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.”

More than 75,000 Americans died from overdose of synthetic opioids, mainly fentanyl, in the 12-month period ending in Feb. 2022, according to the release.

Skrmetti joins the attorneys general of the following states and territories: Florida, Connecticut, Arkansas, Guam, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.