Florida attorney general calling on Biden to classify fentanyl as weapon of mass destruction

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody wrote a letter to President Joe Biden, asking him to classify fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction.

Moody is urging President Biden to either use executive authority or urge Congress to make the declaration. The move would require government agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and the Pentagon to work together.

"Given how many Americans are being murdered, the whole federal government and every tactic and capability that we have should be utilized to stop the death and destruction that fentanyl is causing," she wrote in the letter, adding that fentanyl-related overdose deaths increased by 55% in the state of Florida in 2020. The letter was sent Monday.

"We are seeing fentanyl being placed in drugs at a rapid pace that you would not predict and traditionally have not been put in; drugs like cocaine or marijuana and other types of drugs that you wouldn’t expect to find fentanyl."

READ: The full letter can be viewed here

She says the death toll climbed in 2021 and in the past two weeks, 19 people in the state have overdosed on fentanyl. Nine people in Gadsden County died.

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The opioid crisis has touched millions of families and children across the US. In Florida, overdose deaths related to fentanyl have risen by 63% since 2019. The dangerous man-made drug is 50 to 300 times more potent than morphine. Many overdose victims don’t even realize they’ve taken it.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, a weapon of mass destruction is defined as a "nuclear, radiological, chemical, biological, or other device that is intended to harm a large number of people."

"Fentanyl is being surreptitiously placed in these drugs," said Attorney General Moody. "Sometimes folks ingesting them have no idea that this incredibly dangerous substance is in that substance and can kill them."

In Tampa, 7 people were hospitalized from overdosing on drugs laced with fentanyl last week, according to police.

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First responders had to use naloxone, an emergency treatment for opioid overdoses commonly known as the brand medication Narcan.

"Border Patrol has seized enough fentanyl to kill the entire American population many times over," she said in a statement to Fox News Digital. "With that in mind and the recent mass overdose events in Hillsborough and Gadsden Counties, I am demanding President Biden classify illicit fentanyl as a Weapon of Mass Destruction."

JoJo Acevedo, a recovering addict, said fentanyl took her on a dark downward spiral. In March, she suffered a big blow when her husband died of an overdose. She said that was a turning point and when she finally got help. 

"These people, like me, are not bad people we happen to have fallen into addiction," Acevedo said. "But we're still your sisters, neighbors, we're human, and we just need help."

William Atkinson, who has been sober for nearly a decade, now dedicates his time to helping others achieve sobriety through the Recovery Epicenter Foundation. He said the spotlight is something the fentanyl epidemic needs. 

"When a substance becomes more important than eating breathing drinking water, staying indoors – that does a thing to a human. Coming back from that is a process," Atkinson said.

FOX News contributed to this report