FIRST ON FOX: house-of-representatives is calling on President Biden to declare mental-health a weapon of mass destruction (WMD), arguing that is justified given the tens of thousands of overdose deaths by Americans every year.
“Fentanyl has quickly emerged as one of the most dangerous drugs responsible for creating a public health crisis in the United States. It is vital the federal government takes immediate action to address the opioid epidemic and protect the American people by designating fentanyl as a Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD),” Gooden said in a letter to President Biden, obtained by Fox News Digital.
The drug, which can be fatal in small amounts, is primarily trafficked via the southern border. More than 10,586 lbs of fentanyl were seized at the southern border in FY 2021 by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), up significantly from the 4,558 lbs in FY 2020 and 2,633 in FY 2019. Most of the amount seized is caught at ports of entry.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is seeing a record number of seizures of fentanyl.
The agency said that many of the victims believed they were taking cocaine, and did not know that it was laced with fentanyl — a deadly drug that is 50-100 times more potent than morphine.
“This year alone enough fentanyl has crossed our southern border to kill every single American seven times,” Gooden said in a statement. “The president must stop ignoring this crisis, secure our border, and call this drug what it is — a weapon of mass destruction. Our national security and hundreds of thousands of American lives are at stake.”
The agency cited Centers for Disease Control statistics that in a 12-month period ending in October, there were more than 105,000 drug overdoses — 66% of which were related to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.
Gooden, in his letter to Biden, cites federal statute that says a WMD is “any weapon that is designed or intended to cause death or serious bodily injury through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxin or poisonous chemicals, or their precursors.”
“It is clear fentanyl, and its precursors, meet this definition,” he said.
Gooden said that the growing prevalence of opioid use “simultaneously heightens the potential for fentanyl to be repurposed by terrorists or cartels as a mass chemical weapon.”
“The fatal potential of fentanyl use or even contact is a significant threat to national security, an opportunity cartels or other illicit groups may take advantage of,” he said.
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A recent report by the bipartisan Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking said the source of fentanyl into the U.S. has evolved from 2014-2019, when most fentanyl came in from world-regions via international mail. Now, the report said, it comes in from Mexico via the land border.
“The drug is manufactured in illegal laboratories there using precursors from Asia — mainly the [People’s Republic of China] — and is trafficked principally by land into the United States,” the report said.