Coronavirus is a public hazard that needs to be taken seriously; however, two dozen police departments seem to think it can be used as a laughing stock to lure meth users in.
Police departments across the country have been informing people on social media that if they have recently purchased methamphetamines, it might be laced with the coronavirus as a joke.
Merril Police Department in Wisconsin shared a Facebook post on February 26 stating, “PSA WARNING: If you have recently purchased Meth, it may be contaminated with the Corona Virus. Please take it to the Merrill Police Department and we will test it for free.”
The post was an attempt at humor that was directed to trick people into turning in their drugs. There were people who actually believed it was real, and the post has been shared 6,500 times and further since then.
It seems that Wisconsin wasn’t alone with this scheme. Similar posts by the police departments in Arkansas, Texas, Florida, and Kansas followed the “joke.”
Afterward, the police department updated their post saying their purpose was to trick people into bringing their meth to the station. They accepted it was a long-shot, but stated that there was still a possibility behind it.
Their update read, "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. We have even experienced drunk drivers coming to pick up arrested drunk drivers as their "sober responsible party". So this attempt, although a long shot, still had some possibility behind it. We will take those easy grabs at removing poison from our community whenever we can. That is our role which we un-apologetically must fulfill. It is our hope that an arrest would be the positive catalyst someone may need to start recovery. 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. It is truly heartwarming when we see people succeed in such circumstances. It does happen!"
While the apology update makes the attempted joke seem rather humane, it should be noted that people need credible information with a global health crisis at stake.
With more than 2,900 people killed and 85,000 infected, it is crucially important for the local governments, which should instruct people on how to protect themselves, to be accountable for their behavior.