Claim: Police are asking meth users to bring in their drugs because they might be contaminated with Ebola.
WHAT'S TRUE: A police department posted a humorous message on Facebook warning meth users about potential Ebola contamination.
WHAT'S FALSE: Methamphetamine supplies have been contaminated with Ebola.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, March 2016]
I read on Facebook just now that meth from St. Joseph area is contaminated with Ebola and should be turned into the police. It also mentioned Texas. Don't know if they mean St. Joseph Hospital in Houston, Texas or St. Joseph, Missouri? Is this true or not?
Origin:In March 2016, several warnings circulated on Facebook stating that methamphetamine supplies, and the ingredients used to create meth for recreational drug use, could be contaminated with the virus for the deadly disease Ebola. While the most popular version of this Facebook message claimed that the Ebola contamination affected meth users in Hot Springs, Arkansas, other iterationsmentioned various locations that included cities in the states of California, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington and Kentucky:
Regardless of the locations mentioned in these warnings, they all featured nearly verbatim language and a generic "Breaking News Alert" graphic — the hallmark of fake news hoaxes. While police departments may appreciate drug users' voluntarily turning their meth in due to fears of Ebola contamination, these messages are an obvious jape.
The exact origins of the joke warnings are unclear, but we did find at least one police department Facebook page that reproduced one of them. On 23 March 2016, the Grayson Police Department posted on Facebook that their warning had been "tongue in cheek" and that the ruse resulted in no arrests:
Well, apparently everyone is confident in the quality of their methamphetamine, as we had no one bring theirs in to be checked. While our post yesterday was "tongue in cheek", the dangers of meth use are no laughing matter. As always, we encourage anyone with suspicions of illegal drug activity to give us a call!
Last updated: 23 March 2016
Originally published: 23 March 2016