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Police departments put out fake warnings about coronavirus contaminated drugs

Infectious disease specialist Dr. William Schaffner says that coronavirus could widely spread throughout the US as it has been confirmed in three more west coast communities.

Posted: Mar 2, 2020 6:59 AM


Some police departments are putting out fake warnings that illicit drugs could be contaminated with coronavirus in an effort to make drug arrests.

The Tavares Police Department in Florida and the Merrill Police Department in Wisconsin are among those that have taken to social media offering to test methamphetamine and other drugs.

"If you have recently purchased Meth, it may be contaminated," with coronavirus, Merrill Police Department said on Facebook. "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!"

"Bring it by our station and we will test your batch within minutes!" Tavares Police Department said.

At least 2,976 people have died from coronavirus globally. There are now 71 confirmed and presumptive positive cases of the virus in the United States, including one fatality.

Some people criticized the department's posts online.

"I would rather not see police departments making 'jokes' like this online or posting false information about a pandemic that is already being treated cavalierly by the executive branch," Jessica Thill commented on Merrill Police Department's post.

"This would be funnier if addiction (often a maladaptive coping skill formed as a result of trauma experienced in the form of abuse, neglect, abandonment, etc. during vital development stages of the brain during a human being's life) wasn't a disease that devastates individuals, their families, and their communities," another commenter, Karriann Elise, said.

The post from Merrill police was updated to acknowledge the critical comments it received. But, the department added, similar ploys have worked before and are done with the intention of keeping people safe.

"Just to give you some history, we have actually experienced people report their illegal drugs being stolen, being ripped off in a drug deal, being sold a look-a-like illegal substance, etc.," the department said. "So this attempt, although a long shot, still had some possibility behind it."

"It is our hope that every drug arrest both works to hold offenders accountable for their deeds and provides them with a path toward treatment options."

Police departments using social media to push fake drug campaigns have caused a stir before. In July, a Tennessee police department warned against flushing drugs down toilets and sinks because it could create meth gators. The post was not meant to be taken seriously, the department said.

"Let us be perfectly clear: the meth gator was a humorous illustration used to highlight the dangers of flushing drugs and other substances down your toilet," the Loretto Police Department wrote on Facebook.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32314

Reported Deaths: 542
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah7081137
Marion462792
Washington446859
Umatilla294841
Clackamas237761
Malheur160926
Lane114317
Jackson11235
Deschutes81012
Yamhill75513
Jefferson5248
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Sherman180
Harney120
Grant90
Gilliam80
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California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 803660

Reported Deaths: 15516
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2657756488
Riverside581781189
San Bernardino53669922
Orange529041204
San Diego46001775
Kern31785361
Fresno28106382
Sacramento22026402
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Tulare15897259
Ventura12617147
Imperial11781317
San Francisco1103899
San Mateo9785150
Monterey977270
Santa Barbara9003113
Merced8846140
Kings763177
Sonoma7320120
Marin6672117
Solano630963
Madera448165
Placer354244
San Luis Obispo351029
Butte280343
Yolo278955
Santa Cruz23199
Sutter169611
Napa166113
San Benito133111
Yuba11437
El Dorado10984
Mendocino89918
Shasta77717
Lassen7370
Glenn5743
Tehama5404
Lake53411
Nevada5317
Colusa5276
Humboldt5017
Calaveras31414
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18715
Mono1652
Siskiyou1650
Del Norte1391
Mariposa752
Plumas500
Modoc270
Trinity160
Sierra60
Alpine20
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