Instead of doing the contrary, the officials at the White House and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) are pushing the ‘myth’ that a lot of marijuana being sold in the black market is laced with fentanyl, a powerful opioid drug used in the treatment of severe pain, reports Buzzfeed.
Kellyanne Conway, the White House’s opioid crisis czar, via a news conference last week, warned citizens about the risks of fentanyl turning up in other drugs, including marijuana. “People are unwittingly ingesting it, it’s laced into heroin, marijuana, meth, cocaine, and it’s also just being distributed by itself.”
However, not even a single sample seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has tested positive for the opioid drug.
Epidemiologist Dan Ciccarone of the University of California showed his disappointment stating, “It’s crazy that this story is coming out from our leaders. It shows that concerns about fentanyl have reached the level of moral panic. Fear outweighs rational evidence. There is little to no evidence for cannabis laced with fentanyl.”
It all started in 2017 when the US drug overdose ‘epidemic’ claimed nearly 70,000 lives, resulting in a national emergency declaration by President Donald Trump. Reportedly, fentanyl — the quantity of which has been increasing in the heroin supply on the East Coast, and in some batches of methamphetamine and cocaine — is the culprit behind the death of around 30,000 of these people, according to the CDC statistics.
When the White House Press officials were asked the reason why Kellyanne Conway mentioned fentanyl-laced weed in spite of the DEA’s lack of findings, they pointed to a 2018 speech by NIDA head Nora Volkow, where she had said, “fentanyl is being used to lace a wide variety of drugs, including marijuana.”
The chaos, however, might have erupted from the lab results of a few samples of weed that tested positive for fentanyl on ultrasensitive test strips, which can detect the drug even if its concentration is as low as one-billionth of a gram. Such samples of marijuana often come from handlers who deal with all kinds of drugs; thus, a ‘negligible’ amount of fentanyl that may pop up in other drug packets while handling isn’t a major concern, experts believe.
According to the DEA, as little as 2 grams of fentanyl can be lethal. However, no such deduction exists in the scientific records.