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Officers inside the Division of Homeland Safety are discussing whether or not to categorise the drug fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction, in response to a broadcast report.
The web site Activity & Function mentioned it had acquired a duplicate of a Feb. 22 memo from James F. McDonnell, DHS assistant secretary for countering weapons of mass destruction, by which he makes the case for contemplating the drug as a weapon of mass destruction.
As it’s, a December report from the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention mentioned fentanyl was concerned in nearly 29 % of America’s 63,632 drug overdose deaths in 2016, in response to The Hill.
Within the memo, McDonnell talks about fentanyl in a unique gentle, as a potential “mass casualty weapon.”
“Fentanyl’s excessive toxicity and growing availability are enticing to risk actors searching for nonconventional supplies for a chemical weapons assault,” McDonnell wrote.
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“In July 2018, the FBI Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate assessed that ‘… fentanyl may be very seemingly a viable possibility for a chemical weapon assault by extremists or criminals,’” he wrote.
“Throughout the previous couple years, there was a reinvigorated curiosity in addressing fentanyl and its analogues as WMD supplies because of the ongoing opioid disaster,” McDonnell added
In its report in regards to the memo, The Hill mentioned it was instructed by an unnamed DHS official that DHS is “always assessing new and rising threats which will affect the nation’s safety.”
Dan Kaszeta, a chemical, organic, radiological and nuclear protection knowledgeable, instructed Activity & Function that the memo sounded extra like an effort to faucet division funding than a honest concern.
Ought to fentanyl be labeled a weapon of mass destruction?
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“It reads like any person is laying the executive background for making an attempt to faucet into pots of cash for detecting WMD and decontaminating WMD,” Kaszeta mentioned. “It’s an interdepartmental play for cash, that’s all it’s.”
Nonetheless, McDonnell claimed Navy Adm. Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command, had “proposed formally designating fentanyl as a WMD materials.”
A spokesperson for the Southern Command wouldn’t talk about Faller’s opinion on whether or not fentanyl is a weapon of mass destruction.
Others have mentioned even when the risk shouldn’t be but a transparent and current hazard, it exists.
“Fentanyl-based medicine have been utilized in conflicts in different international locations, so we all know it’s potential, and we should be prepared to avoid wasting lives and shield Individuals from potential well being safety threats,” mentioned Rick Shiny, director of the U.S. Biomedical Superior Analysis and Improvement Authority, in response to Bloomberg.
Roger Crystal, chief govt officer of Opiant, which is engaged on a fentanyl antidote, mentioned the hazard is that there’s a lot of the drug round, it could possibly be weaponized.
“It doesn’t take far more than a half-competent chemist to have the ability to manufacture it,” Crystal mentioned. “And it’s cheaper to fabricate than heroin.”
“As a result of we’re in a fentanyl disaster, there’s extra fentanyl round, and for that cause the power to pay money for it and getting it into the improper arms isn’t that arduous,” Crystal mentioned.
In Could, for instance, 118 kilos of the drug was confiscated when a mail truck crammed with it was stopped throughout a Nebraska site visitors cease.
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