Despite evidence to the contrary, New York City mayor Eric Adams (D) has continued using public speaking appearances to push the idea that children are buying marijuana laced with fentanyl.
In the most recent example, journalist Rebecca C. Lewis of City & State New York posted a photo of Adams on May 9 2023 alongside the caption:
Mayor Eric Adams speaks at the Safe & Just Communities Forum at John Jay College. Poses the question “How are the children?” before criticizing TikTok and saying that kids are buying fentanyl-laced pot at their corner bodegas
That description matches almost word for word remarks that Adams made five days earlier at an event hosted by the National Day of Prayer Initiative.
“Just think in your mind, ‘How are the children?’ Suicide rates among children have increased to an epic proportion,” Adams said in footage posted by The Recount. “They are depressed more at 9 and 10 years old; our babies are saying ‘I’m feeling depressed.’ They start their day going to the corner bodega buying cannabis and fentanyl and sit in the classroom and try to learn.”
But as Hell Gate NYC reported on May 3 2023, no actual evidence existed that “fentanyl-laced cannabis” was a threat.
“Despite the assertions of officials, law enforcement, and media, among others, no suspected case has been confirmed to be causally related,” said Dr. Lewis Nelson, head of the medical toxicology division for the medical school at Rutgers University New Jersey:
In all reported cases, there are numerous other explanations for the findings, such as co-use of the two, or misdiagnosis of substance use altogether. Analytical toxicology testing, meaning testing of the cannabis product, may find trace amounts of fentanyl, but not in amounts that can lead to harm.
The claims of “fentanyl-laced cannabis” had previously gained national attention in 2019 thanks to similar misinformation spread by then-President Donald Trump’s administration.
“It’s crazy that this story is coming out from our leaders,” epidemiologist Dan Ciccarone of the University of California-San Francisco said to Buzzfeed News at the time. “It shows that concerns about fentanyl have reached the level of moral panic. Fear outweighs rational evidence. There is scant evidence for cannabis laced with fentanyl.”
In February 2022 the Connecticut Department of Public Health retracted its claim that cannabis laced with fentanyl was responsible for 39 overdoses reported between July 1 and November 30 2021, saying that subsequent testing found that fentanyl — an opioid that can be lethal, but that lethality is also often exaggerated or misconstrued for disinformation purposes — was only found in one marijuana sample as a result of “accidental contamination.”
In February 2023, Adams (who has reportedly been enlisted to help U.S. President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign) denounced the separation of church and state during a public appearance. He has also claimed that “God” told him to run for mayor.
We contacted both Adams and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where he delivered his most recent claims, seeking comment. We have yet to hear a response.