- At least two dozen police departments in the US have shared misinformation on Facebook linking the coronavirus to illegal substances, like Methamphetamine, according to BuzzFeed News.
- As first reported by The Washington Post, the posts urge individuals to bring their drugs into police stations so they can be tested for the virus, which has killed nearly 3,000 people thus far.
- In addition to police departments, some local media outlets have echoed the misinformation on their Facebook pages.
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2020欧洲杯体育平台Some US police departments have spread misinformation about the coronavirus on Facebook, claiming that COVID-19 is linked to methamphetamine in an attempt to get people to turn their illegal substances in to law enforcement, the reported.
"WARNING: If you have recently purchased Meth, it may be contaminated with the Corona Virus," the Merill, Wisconsin, Police Department shared in a Facebook post on February 26. "Please take it to the Merrill Police Department and we will test it for free. 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!"
The next day, the Merill Police Department updated its post after almost instantly drawing the attention and criticism from individuals who either believed the post was legitimate or those s.
"While other departments are creating substance use outreach programs, you're doing this. Substance use disorder is a public health crisis. Making a mockery of it is putting you further away from a solution. This is disgusting," one person commented on the Facebook post.
"We are a Law Enforcement Agency, not a recovery service," the department responded. "We address crime and the criminals who perpetrate it anywhere we can in our City and any way we lawfully can."
"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," Merrill Police said on Facebook on Thursday. "So this attempt, although a long shot, still had some possibility behind it. We will take those easy grabs at removing poison[sic] from our community whenever we can. That is our role which we un-apologetically must fulfill."
To date, COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan, China, has killed more than 2,900 people and infected more than 85,000 others. While the disease had been primarily contained to China, the virus has spread to other parts of Asia and around the globe, including Italy and the US. At least 76 people have died outside of mainland China, according to a previous Business Insider report.
2020欧洲杯体育平台The misinformation was not limited to just police departments. In addition to two dozen US police departments, one candidate for a local sheriff's office, and 10 local journalists and radio stations also shared the inaccurate information on their Facebook pages, according to a report.
2020欧洲杯体育平台"Texas police say local meth is contaminated with coronavirus, offer to test it," the headline of the article, posted on Thursday. The was posted among websites of other Gray Media-owned television stations.
It's apparently not the first time police departments have used public fears about a global virus outbreak to target illegal drug use. As the Washington Post noted, a police department in Granite Shoals, Texas, in 2016 shared a similar warning linking heroin and meth to the Ebola virus.
2020欧洲杯体育平台"Giving mythological information and being tongue-in-cheek about something that's really serious, where there's been a lot of loss and a lot of deaths seems just problematic coming from a state agency," Jon Zibbell, a former CDC epidemiologist at RTI International, said, according to BuzzFeed News. "There's absolutely no evidence for this."
Social media websites, like Facebook, have faced questions over how they plan to handle coronavirus misinformation on their platforms. Earlier this week, the Menlo, Park, California-based company announced it would ban misleading advertisements2020欧洲杯体育平台 that mentioned coronavirus.
2020欧洲杯体育平台Facebook did not immediately return a return Business Insider's request for comment.