West Virginia’s attorney general highlights fentanyl crisis - Families impacted speak out

West Virginia's attorney general hosted an event highlighting the fentanyl crisis and people impacted.
Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 11:22 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - West Virginia’s Attorney General Patrick Morrisey held an emotional event highlighting the fentanyl crisis and its victims Monday afternoon.

One by one, close relatives of people who died from fentanyl stepped up to the mic to tell their stories.

According to the DEA, fentanyl is about 50 times more potent than heroin. Only two milligrams can kill someone and most poisoning victims don’t know fentanyl is in the substance they’re using.

Morrisey said, while it’s an issue across the nation, West Virginia especially feels the impact.

“My heart grieves for the families and there’s nothing we can do to take away that pain but maybe maybe just maybe we can all work together to prevent future families from going through what you did. That’s my hope by having this event today,” he said.

One speaker whose daughter died from fentanyl said, “She made her last phone call to her grandparents because it was their 60th wedding anniversary to tell them she loved them.”

One speaker whose son died from fentanyl said, “He was found September 17th, 2021 floating in the Monongahela River.”

A theme across multiple speakers was calling for unity and working together towards a solution.

One speaker whose son died from fentanyl said, “As Diana said, it’s not a red or a blue issue. It’s a red, white, and blue issue and it affects everyone in this state and everyone in this nation.”

Morrisey said he and Florida’s attorney general have joined forces.

“..., we’ve been working, pushing for fentanyl to be classified as a weapon of mass destruction,” he said.

Morrisey added that he will also ask the West Virginia First Foundation to include fentanyl as a point of focus. The foundation is currently being put together and will eventually distribute money earned from opioid settlements.

Putting pressure on social media companies is another point Morrisey emphasized.

He said, “They have an obligation to not let their platforms get infiltrated by creatures of death, purveyors of death, that are spreading their poison around. That has to be a priority.”

Morrisey aimed criticism at Homeland Security and the secretary of state for not doing enough to fight the crisis.

“We have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security because we think they have to have some policy - any policy - to go after this illicit fentanyl. They’re doing nothing at the border. I went to the border. I watched this firsthand. It has to change,” he said.

Morrisey said that he will soon send a letter to the new speaker of the house to call for “major oversight hearings” for both immigration in general and what’s happening with fentanyl.

“..., and that means looking at what Homeland’s done and looking at what the Secretary of State Blinken has done...or not done. The reality is that when you’re talking about dealing with the Mexican drug cartels, this is a matter of international importance for our state and for our country so we need Secretary of State Blinken to step up,” he said.

Morrisey pointed to China and Mexico for being contributors to the crisis. He explained that a lot of ingredients are coming from China, Mexican drug cartels are finishing the products, then they are being smuggled into the U.S.