The widely-available drug fentanyl, already the number one killer of Americans under 50, could be weaponized and used for terroristic mass poisoning, according to health experts at Rutgers and other institutions. “Before fentanyl, the only viable mass poisons were rare and difficult-to-access agents such as cyanide or nerve agents,” said Lewis Nelson, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and senior author of the new Frontiers in Public Health paper. “Fentanyl can be just as deadly if properly disseminated, and it’s ubiquitous. A motivated person could readily obtain enough to potentially poison hundreds of people — which, uncut, would fit easily onto a teaspoon.”

Unlike biological attacks, in which a weaponized disease could spread globally and kill millions, chemical attacks generally only harm the victim through direct exposure. Still, fentanyl’s high toxicity makes it a viable tool for unleashing a damaging, intentional event on an unsuspecting population. To read the full story.