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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 8:59 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.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 581335

Reported Deaths: 7267
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1206301710
Ramsey50221865
Dakota44921441
Anoka40688432
Washington26275278
Stearns21864220
St. Louis17475302
Scott16941123
Wright15685135
Olmsted1308297
Sherburne1136784
Carver1029545
Clay806892
Rice7920104
Blue Earth736041
Crow Wing650687
Kandiyohi646681
Chisago579751
Otter Tail565877
Benton558897
Goodhue469972
Mower459432
Douglas458774
Winona447350
McLeod416558
Itasca416253
Morrison412660
Isanti407062
Nobles406348
Beltrami386258
Steele379115
Polk378567
Becker374049
Lyon356850
Carlton340152
Freeborn338929
Pine323321
Nicollet320243
Brown302740
Mille Lacs297252
Le Sueur284722
Todd277131
Cass264828
Meeker249638
Waseca234821
Martin227131
Roseau204519
Wabasha20293
Hubbard182941
Dodge18073
Renville177543
Redwood170636
Houston166915
Cottonwood161921
Fillmore153710
Pennington153219
Wadena152121
Chippewa151238
Faribault149419
Kanabec141824
Sibley140610
Aitkin132836
Watonwan12979
Rock126819
Jackson120911
Pipestone113626
Yellow Medicine113420
Pope10766
Murray10529
Swift103818
Stevens88011
Marshall87417
Clearwater85416
Koochiching80914
Lake80519
Wilkin79612
Lac qui Parle74822
Big Stone5924
Lincoln5723
Grant5638
Mahnomen5408
Norman5369
Unassigned51793
Kittson48222
Red Lake3947
Traverse3675
Lake of the Woods3173
Cook1550

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 364143

Reported Deaths: 5900
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57127619
Linn20675333
Scott19714239
Black Hawk15734307
Woodbury15078228
Johnson1438283
Dubuque13308207
Dallas1108797
Pottawattamie11021166
Story1052948
Warren571488
Clinton550792
Cerro Gordo534689
Sioux511674
Webster510892
Marshall480775
Muscatine472999
Des Moines450366
Wapello4278122
Buena Vista423940
Jasper412770
Plymouth399979
Lee371955
Marion360075
Jones296457
Henry290237
Carroll284352
Bremer282360
Crawford264140
Boone262334
Benton254955
Washington252250
Dickinson247343
Mahaska228850
Jackson220642
Clay214625
Kossuth214564
Tama208871
Delaware208040
Winneshiek196333
Page191921
Buchanan190331
Cedar188623
Hardin184443
Fayette184341
Wright183136
Harrison179073
Hamilton178949
Clayton168456
Butler163734
Mills161321
Madison159719
Floyd159442
Cherokee158338
Lyon157541
Poweshiek154533
Allamakee150251
Iowa147924
Hancock146534
Winnebago140631
Cass137654
Grundy136032
Calhoun135313
Emmet133040
Jefferson132135
Shelby130337
Sac129819
Appanoose127847
Louisa127849
Union127332
Mitchell125642
Chickasaw123515
Guthrie120629
Humboldt118726
Franklin116221
Palo Alto112123
Howard104122
Montgomery102437
Unassigned9990
Clarke99324
Keokuk95431
Monroe95028
Ida90234
Adair86032
Pocahontas85422
Monona82830
Davis81324
Osceola77716
Greene77310
Lucas76823
Worth7338
Taylor65612
Fremont6209
Decatur6059
Van Buren55618
Ringgold54424
Wayne53123
Audubon5009
Adams3374
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