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Elon Musk suggests tackling fentanyl problem with either 'draconian penalties for fentanyl possession' or legalization
Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Elon Musk suggests tackling fentanyl problem with either 'draconian penalties for fentanyl possession' or legalization

Business magnate Elon Musk has suggested that to tackle the problem of fentanyl deaths, the U.S. should either levy hefty penalties for possession or legalize the drug.

"We either need to legalize fentanyl, so addicts don’t accidentally take lethal doses, or engage in draconian penalties for fentanyl possession. If authorities refuse to do the latter, we should at least try the former to see if fewer tragedies occur," Musk tweeted.

He was responding to a post in which Michael Shellenberger wrote, "People say there's nothing we can do to stop people from abusing fentanyl, but we can. We might not be able to stop it from coming into the US, but we can crack down on open-air drug dealing and mandate rehab to addicts who break the law. If we don't, one million people will die."

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has said that two cartels are behind much of the fentanyl flowing into the U.S.

"DEA's mission is to save American lives by defeating the two cartels that are responsible for the vast majority of fentanyl that is flooding our country: the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco Cartel," the agency noted in a January press release.

"While the cartels’ operations are based in Mexico, DEA has identified more than 50 additional countries where these criminal networks operate. DEA has also traced the cartels’ global supply chain around the world. The cartels purchase chemicals from companies in China, mass produce the fentanyl in Mexico, and then traffic and distribute finished fentanyl widely throughout the United States," the DEA noted.

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