Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General
Jason S. Miyares
202 North 9th Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
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Attorney General Miyares Urges President Biden to Classify Fentanyl a Weapon of Mass Destruction
Richmond, VA — Attorney General Jason Miyares today joined a bipartisan multistate effort urging President Biden to classify fentanyl as a Weapon of Mass Destruction. In a letter sent today, 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 action 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. Due to the low cost of production, inherent lethality and vast availability of the substance, fentanyl is an ideal choice for bad actors to use as a chemical weapon. The letter argues: "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.”
"Fentanyl is taking the lives of too many Virginians every day, but there is a risk for even greater calamity. It would be foolish to wait for a tragic mass casualty event to strike when we have an opportunity to cohesively utilize government resources and intelligence to take proactive steps to preserve and protect American lives,” said Attorney General Miyares.
More than 75,000 Americans died from overdose of synthetic opioids, mainly fentanyl, in the 12-month period ending in Feb. 2022. To put this number in perspective, approximately 58,000 Americans died in the entirety of the Vietnam War. Fentanyl is the number one killer of adults aged 18-45.
Attorney General Miyares joins Florida, Connecticut, Arkansas, Guam, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia in signing the letter.
To read the full letter, click here.