It smells like a rat at the Department of Homeland Security, where the assistant secretary on countering weapons of mass destruction has concocted a ridiculous scenario involving the painkiller fentanyl, according to a memo leaked just one week after the top DHS official was forced to resign.
James F. McDonnell, appointed by President Donald Trump to head the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office at DHS, pushed for the synthetic opioid fentanyl to be designated a weapon of mass destruction “when certain criteria are met,” a leaked DHS memo sent to then-Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen states.
The memo, dated February 22, 2019, warned that the drug’s “high toxicity and increasing availability are attractive to treat actors seeking nonconventional materials for a chemical weapons attack.” McDonnell’s subject line? “Use of counter-WMD authorities to combat fentanyl.”
A casual viewer of mainstream news associates fentanyl primarily with one thing: death. The powerful drug is around 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more so than morphine. But this DHS memo follows a long line of media-driven exaggerations regarding its inherent risk to the public.
The viral story about an Ohio police officer who felt his body “shutting down” after coming into contact with trace amounts of fentanyl has been deemed fake news by medical experts. Still, McDonnell claimed in his memo that “as little as two to three milligrams” can “induce respiratory depression, respiratory arrest, and possibly death.”
Not mentioned in the memo is the more likely event that a terrorist would simply sell the illicit substance for a hefty profit, thanks to the black market created by the war on drugs.
Trump won the presidency in no small part by calling out WMD lies, and after removing Nielsen as DHS secretary, he ought to not have a problem removing more inept officials like McDonnell.
As Task & Purpose reported, McDonnell is just “trying to tap into pots of money,” according to Dan Kaszeta, an expert in biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological defense.
“It’s an interdepartmental play for money, that’s all it is,” Kaszeta continued.
Trump, however, also campaigned against the DHS’s Transportation Security Administration but has allowed their mischievous groping of Americans to continue, despite retweeting videos of classic TSA abuse.
Trump can’t be expected to come to the logical solution to the opioid crisis on his own. But prohibition of heroin gave us fentanyl as surely as alcohol prohibition led to the popularization of 190-proof alcohol.
This past Sunday on CNN, Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang proposed decriminalizing small amounts of heroin and fentanyl. This policy may be the best hope of main stage 2020 politics on the subject of the ever-failing drug war, although it might not mix well with his $1,000 per month stipend for every American. Oh well. These are the choices in a country that refuses to decentralize government power.