LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – A Lafayette woman is starting a petition urging lawmakers to classify fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction. This comes after her own daughter overdosed and died after unknowingly consuming fentanyl.

JonTerez Broussard, 20 of Lafayette, unknowingly overdosed on fentanyl in October of 2021. She died after spending a week in the hospital on a ventilator. Her mother is now pushing lawmakers to completely change how fentanyl distributors are charged.

Right now a house bill that will soon go to the house floor for debate proposes increasing prison time for anyone distributing or processing fentanyl. The bill, however, would also reduce sentences of those convicted if they provide assistance to investigators.

“To see people trying to minimize time and offer good time for people who deal and offer fentanyl, I have a real problem with that. People like my daughter don’t get the benefit of good time. They’re gone,” Mary Broussard said.

JonTerez Broussard, 20

Broussard, who lost her daughter to a fentanyl overdose just seven months ago, suggests a different way to take on the fentanyl crisis. “Why don’t we classify this as a weapon of mass destruction because that’s exactly what it is,” she said.

Broussard says she got the idea to start this petition after looking up what is classified as a weapon of mass destruction on the Department of Homeland Security‘s Website. “Among the things that are listed, chemicals are listed, and fentanyl is a chemical. It’s manmade, and it is intended to kill masses of people,” she added.

She hopes with enough signatures, her petition will get the attention of the state and federal governments. She says classifying fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction could potentially save the lives of people just like her daughter. “It’s everywhere. It does not discriminate. It does not matter what color you are, what economic background you come from, it kills. It just kills, and it needs to be taken a lot more seriously,” Broussard said.