DHS considers classifying fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction

In this image, a man holds up a poster that reads "Health Alert: Fentanyl is killing New Yorkers"
A heroin user reads an alert on fentanyl. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security has considered designating fentanyl a weapon of mass destruction in certain situations, Task & Purpose scooped yesterday.

What they're saying: "Fentanyl's high toxicity and increasing availability are attractive to threat actors seeking nonconventional materials for a chemical weapons attack," James McDonnell, a senior DHS official, wrote in a memo obtained by Task & Purpose.

Insys Therapeutics employees bribed doctors to over-prescribe fentanyl-based pain drug

John Kapoor, founder of Insys Therapeutics. Photo: Boston Globe/Getty Images

Alec Burlakoff, the former sales executive for Arizona-based Insys Therapeutics, admitted in federal court on Friday that he was directed to enlist and bribe physicians to boost sales of the company's fentanyl-based pain drug, reports NBC.

Driving the news: In wrapping up the fifth week of the nation's first federal trial spotlighting Big Pharma leadership, founder John Kapoor and the 4 other former Insys executives on trial continue to claim their innocence. Evidence included a music video Burkaloff — who pleaded guilty in November — made, featured employees pitching doctors to prescribe their drug, Subsys.

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