A police department in Wisconsin has generated buzz on social media after it sent a Facebook post encouraging people to turn over meth to police for a "free" test to make sure it is not "contaminated" by the new coronavirus.
The Merrill Police Department framed the post as a public service announcement, writing, "If you have recently purchased Meth, it may be contaminated with the Corona Virus." It encouraged people to take it to the 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 department added.
The post has racked up more than 5,000 shares and over 3,500 reactions since it was posted on Wednesday.
The police department's Facebook page had less less than 10,000 followers as of Thursday afternoon.
Many found the post to be funny and said they appreciated the department’s sense of humor.
“THIS is priceless!! Thank you for a very much needed laugh and for all you do! Please update at a later time, so we know,” one person commented.
“Do they need an appointment or are walk ins welcome?” another person wrote.
However, others criticized the post, with some Facebook users accusing the police department of making fun of certain members of the community.
"Yikes, making fun of members of your community who are struggling is not a good look," one person wrote.
“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 person commented.
Merrill Police Chief Corey Bennett told The Daily Herald in an interview that he thought the overwhelming response to the post was “amazing." He added that some people upset by it may be "taking it a little too literally at this point."
Bennett said the department's main idea behind the post was to find a unique way to engage with the local community. But he added that no one seemed to be taking up the department on its offer for the free “coronavirus testing.”