Police departments across the country are issuing fake warnings that the local crystal meth supply may be contaminated with the deadly coronavirus and encouraging addicts to turn over their drugs for testing.
Police departments in Wisconsin, Arkansas, Texas, Florida and Kansas have all issued the fake warnings offering to test people’s meth for them either at the department or in their homes, The Washington Post reported Friday.
“WARNING: If you have recently purchased Meth, it may be contaminated with the Corona Virus,” the Merrill Police Department in Wisconsin posted on Facebook Monday. “If you’re not comfortable going into an office setting, please request any officer and they’ll test your Meth in the privacy of your home. Please spread the word! We are here for you!”
Some local news stations have reported on the warnings as if they’re real. The posts have garnered mixed reviews, with some commenters thinking it’s a funny joke and others who say it’s dangerous.
Stefano M. Bertozzi, a public health professor at the University of California at Berkeley, said the spreading of fake news could be damaging due to the seriousness of the coronavirus.
“This is a time when people need to be taking public health authorities very seriously,” he told The Post. “They’re undermining their credibility that will be very much needed if and when an epidemic comes to their community.”
The Merrill Police Department remained unapologetic Thursday, saying that in the unlikely event someone turns in their drugs it would be their first step toward recovery.