Amid heightened levels of global concern prompted by the coronavirus, multiple police departments have taken up the practice of using the health event in fake warning messages about drugs.

A recent CNN report called attention to instances of faux test-your-drugs-for-coronavirus offers from Wisconsin's Merrill Police Department and Florida's Tavares Police Department.

"If you have recently purchased Meth, it may be contaminated with the Corona Virus [sic]," a post on the official Facebook page for the Merrill Police Department said. "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!"

That post was later updated with acknowledgement of the ensuing criticism in the comments, though the department maintained that the original message "still had some possibility behind it."

A post from the Tavares Police Department, meanwhile, promised to test any interested party's "batch" within a matter of minutes. That department's post has since been removed. Additional departments—including the Montpelier Police Department in Indiana, the Johnson City Police Department in Texas, and the Atlantic Beach Police Department in Florida—shared similar messages citing the coronavirus.

"If you're not comfortable coming to the police department, we will send an officer to your house and they'll test your illegal drugs in the privacy of your home!" the Atlantic Beach post, which was noticeably filled with emoji, said. At the time of this writing, the department's post remained live without any updated text offering clarification:

Johnson City cops joked that meth in the Blanco County area could be "contaminated" with the coronavirus, while Montpelier police said in a since-deleted post that one's "stash" could be affected.

"Beginning Monday, you can bring your Meth, Heroin, Fentanyl, Carfentanil, Cocaine and other illicit street drugs in for FREE testing!!" the Montpelier post said, per WRTV.

While participating departments have been defensive about this method, public health officials have called on them to cease the practice.

As confirmed in the latest update on COVID-19 on Thursday, 11 people have died in the States, with all but one of those deaths having occurred in Washington state. Click here for the CDC's coronavirus guide, including friendly reminders to thoroughly wash one's hands and avoid contact with anyone who's sick.

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