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Ridge, Brennan Sign Letter Urging Biden to Declare Fentanyl WMD

Families Against Fentanyl unveiled an open letter to the Biden Administration asking illicit fentanyl to be formally declared a Weapon of Mass Destruction, featuring signatories including former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge, former Office of National Drug Control Policy Director James Carroll, former Acting DEA Administrator Uttam Dhillon, and former CIA Director John Brennan.

The letter’s release comes following the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provisional overdose data report announcing 93,000 deaths in 2020 — an all-time high driven by illicit fentanyl and its analogues.

“With illicit fentanyl driving record fatalities, it’s clear new federal action needs to be taken to combat this scourge — and the co-signers of our letter to the Biden Administration clearly agree,” Families Against Fentanyl founder James Rauh stated. “Not only is illicit fentanyl being used by drug traffickers to poison thousands of unsuspecting Americans, it is also a chemical weapon that poses a very real threat in the wrong hands. The growing prevalence of fentanyl also heightens the potential for this deadly drug to be repurposed by terrorists or cartels as a chemical weapon in a mass-casualty event. The fentanyl death toll will continue to rise unless America takes bold action. Formally declaring illicit fentanyl a Weapon of Mass Destruction will allow the federal government to engage agencies and resources thus far unused in the fight against the fentanyl epidemic, putting cartels on notice and saving American lives. I’m honored to see such a diverse and bipartisan group lend their names to this cause, and welcome future co-signers as Families Against Fentanyl continues to pursue the WMD designation.”

“Thousands of Americans are being poisoned each year because drug traffickers are mixing illegal fentanyl into counterfeit pills and a host of other types of illicit drugs, and it has only gotten worse during the COVID pandemic,” Former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and letter co-signer Adm. James A. “Sandy” Winnefeld, Jr. added. “This is in effect a slow-motion terrorist attack that is imposing enormous costs on our society, and it is not inconceivable that fentanyl could be used in an actual terrorist attack. The time is now to put measures in place to interdict this deadly drug.”

Read the letter here

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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