Police Department Offers To Test Meth for Gluten

By Kelly Burch 05/11/17

The Tecumseh Police Department took to their Facebook page to make the cheeky announcement.

a hand holding a bag of meth

The Tecumseh, Oklahoma police department is offering to test methamphetamine for gluten, if people are willing to bring their drugs into the police station for examination. 

The tongue-in-cheek “public service announcement” was posted on the police department’s Facebook page on Monday, and has since been shared nearly 1,500 times. 

“Public service announcement: The Tecumseh Police Department is offering FREE testing for gluten laced meth,” the post reads. “Please bring your meth to the Tecumseh Police Department for your FREE test.”

The post inspired a plethora of comments. “Gluten is bad for everyone. Nice and helpful TPD. Always good to watch those that warn their friends too!” one poster wrote, according to Koko News 5

Another wrote, “Free testing? No way … what a service! Surely they will pack their meth baggies and cart their assets to the PD to check for gluten. We will dismiss the toilet bowl cleaner and toxic chemical testing, and go straight to the real devil ... GLUTEN!!!!”

Behind the humorous message is a grim reality however: Oklahoma has some of the highest rates of methamphetamine use in the country. In 2016 meth was the biggest cause of drug overdoses in the state, claiming 328 lives, according to Oklahoma Watch. That represents more than one-third of the 952 overdose deaths in the state during 2016. By comparison, heroin caused 49 deaths in 2016, although opioids as a category still caused more deaths than meth. 

Narcotics Bureau spokesman Mark Woodward said that meth is easily accessible in Oklahoma and that use of the drug is growing. “It’s cheap, it’s accessible and someone in your circle will have it if you’re using drugs,” he said.

Jessica Hawkins, prevention director for the Mental Health Department in Oklahoma, said that more meth deaths are happening because the strength of the drug is increasing and more people are injecting the drug, which leads to a higher overdose risk. She also said that meth is often being used alongside other substances.

Hawkins cautioned about taking the spotlight from the opioid epidemic and focusing on meth. “They’re concurrently problematic,” she said. “What we don’t want to do is switch attention from another serious epidemic, which is the opioid epidemic we’re in, and move attention away from that.”

Some people say that the crackdown in opioid prescriptions have left more drug users turning to meth, which authorities say is brought into the state by Mexican cartels. 

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.