An Akron man whose son died of an overdose in 2015 is on a crusade to take fentanyl, a ultra-lethal drug manufactured mostly in China and by Mexican cartels, off the streets for good.
Motivated by his son’s tragic death, James Rauh founded an organization called Families Against Fentanyl, which is taking a unique approach to fighting the manufacture and import of that drug.
“The U.S. Government is considering designation of illegal fentanyl as a Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD),” the organization’s website says. “This would enable the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Department of Defense and other relevant federal agencies to better coordinate their efforts and immediately publish the necessary administrative directives to eliminate the threat posed by these deadly substances.”
To make its case, the group cites Federal Statute (18 U.S. Code § 2332a), which dictates that “any weapon that is designed or intended to cause death or serious bodily injury through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxin or poisonous chemicals, or their precursors.”
Heroin and other street drugs are often laced with fentanyl without the knowledge of the drug user, and fentanyl lethal in even tiny amounts.
Families Against Fentanyl says that in 2018, 5,000 pounds of fentanyl – which is the equivalent of more than one billion lethal doses – were seized by law enforcement. That is enough of the deadly drug to kill four times the population of the United States, a key metric in the group’s plan to have the drug labeled a WMD.
Rauh recently spoke to a Cleveland news station about his son’s death, and his group’s mission.
“It was sent over by a Chinese manufacturer to a local drug dealer who poisoned our son with this material for profit,” he said. “It’s so potent. Our objective is to have this poison taken out of the United States.”
“The only way to stop this, that we have found, is by declaring this [a WMD] and interdicting the supply, stopping it from reaching our shores,” Rauh continued. It’s our number one tactic for harm reduction.”
Overdose deaths, which have long been on the uptick in the United States, spiked dramatically over the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdowns.
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