The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

Fentanyl attacks democracy

Election offices received letters after the November 7 elections and to their surprise, they found skeptical contaminants. While counting votes, states such as Georgia and Washington noticed fentanyl-laced mail. Several states have taken steps to further evaluate the issue.

Tuesday, November 7, elections occurred across the United States for voters to cast their votes in the state and local elections. The off-year election included state legislative elections in states such as Kentucky, Virginia and Wisconsin. As of Thursday, November 9, however, the Federal Bureau Investigation(FBI) and U.S. Postal Inspection Service have started to investigate reports of suspicious letters sent to public officials.

Election offices in states such as California, Georgia, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Washington state received letters that contained fentanyl. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid drug approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for pain relief, can cause  cyanosis and respiratory failure leading to death. In 2022, 73,654 people died from a fentanyl overdose in the US, over twice the amount of deaths from three years prior in 2019.

 Officials in Georgia suspected that letters heading to Fulton County contained fentanyl. Friday, November 10, the Georgia election chief believes officials will ensure the election offices that receive mail have obtained Narcan. Thursday, November 9, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger encouraged elected officials and political candidates to closely investigate the activity and mentioned the death of his son–who reportedly passed away from a fentanyl overdose to further stress the importance of the issue.

“Fentanyl is a major killer of young Americans.  During his meeting with Chinese President Xi, President Biden got China to agree to do what it can to stem the flow of components of fentanyl from China to the U.S.  This should help the problem,” AP Government and Politics teacher Scott Trepanier said.

CNN previously reported that election offices across multiple counties in Washington state had received envelopes on Wednesday that contained powdery substances. Julie Wise, election director of King County, Washington, reported that election offices also found fentanyl in an envelope. Those who opened the envelope Wednesday, November 8 detected white powder ,isolated the letter, called law enforcement and evacuated the building to protect other staff members .

Thursday, November 9, Texan authorities investigated a letter that contained a questionable substance, received by Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office. Public Safety spokesperson Ericka Miller, however, reported that all preliminary tests came back negative. This discovery also led to an evacuation in a state office building in Austin.

“Congress could pass a law that would limit the sale of fentanyl components in the United States and further criminalize the sale and production of fentanyl.  Congress and the President can do more to secure the border with Mexico.  Fentanyl is coming into the United States from Mexico,” Trepanier said.

Voting rights activists and state election chiefs have warned that the overheated political climate around voting has contributed to an increase in resignations and retirements by election officials around the country. At a news conference in Georgia Thursday, November 8, Fulton County Commissioner Robb Pitts believes that the people who have sent these letters have done so to  disrupt U.S. elections 

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About the Contributor
Lauren Lee
Lauren Lee, Copy Editor
Lauren Lee, a senior at NC, is an editor for The Chant. She joined in January 2022 during her sophomore year. She loves writing about recent global events and health crises; she finds a way to turn these topics into impactful and enticing articles. She can be seen reading the New York Times daily to research information about national and global issues. Helping others become better writers and finding their passion also lies in her interests. When she is not writing, she is volunteering at food banks, spending time with family and friends  and shopping.   

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