CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WBOY) — A group of Attorneys General from 18 states, including West Virginia, is urging President Biden to classify fentanyl as a Weapon of Mass Destruction due to record overdose deaths nationwide.

The group, which included West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, sent a letter to President Biden on Thursday asking for the reclassification of the drug as a WMD. Currently, only the federal government treats fentanyl as a narcotics control problem, but if made, the change would require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Drug Enforcement Administration to coordinate a response with other agencies, including the Department of Defense, according to a release from Morrisey.

Fentanyl deaths have drastically increased in the past seven years, according to data from National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), with nearly 60,000 synthetic-opioid-related deaths reported in the U.S. in 2020. And more than 75,000 from February 2021 to February 2022, according to Morrisey’s release, making it the number one killer of adults aged 18-45.

(Courtesy: NIDA)

“In the face of this evolving and significant problem, the federal government has seemed content to stand by. This is a matter of life or death and we need to treat it as such,” said Morrisey in the release.

“Just two milligrams of fentanyl is needed to kill an adult, and it can easily be placed in other substances. In fact, it already is—according to reports, at least one-third of illicitly manufactured pills are contaminated with fentanyl. In addition…fentanyl has already been used as a weapon. The threat of a state enemy using this drug to do harm to the American people cannot be understated,” the attorneys general wrote in the letter.

Attorney General Morrisey joined this Florida-and-Connecticut-led letter with his counterparts in Arkansas, Guam, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.