With Halloween knocking at the door, police in Jackson, MS, issued a warning to parents about “the new shapes of ecstasy,” and law enforcement agencies around the country joined in. Parents are urged to check their kids’ candy for suspect items, as ecstasy can “kill kids through overdoses.”
Local news outlets, from Jackson’s own WAPT News to KIRO 7 News all the way up in Seattle, and national outlets like AOL, have all attributed the ecstasy warning to a Jackson Police Department Facebook post made on Monday, October 19.
In the Facebook post, the Jackson Police Department provided an image said to be “the new shapes of ecstasy” and warned parents that their children might encounter similarly colorful drugs when trick or treating.
“If your kids get these for Halloween candy, they ARE NOT CANDY!!!”
“They are the new shapes of ‘Ecstasy’ and can kill kids through overdoses!!!”
WAPT News contacted the Jackson Police Department for further comment, and Officer Colendula Green reported that the post was meant as a “national warning” and that there was no known threat of ecstasy getting into kids hands in Jackson.
Police departments and local news outlets around the country shared the warning. According to Kiro 7 News in Seattle, over 500,000 people were reached when the station shared the JPD warning via its own Facebook page.
When Kiro 7 News contacted local law enforcement in the Seattle area for comment, a spokesman for the Seattle Police Department said that there hadn’t been any reports of kids being hurt by Halloween candy in at least the last decade.
“We haven’t had any reports,” Sergeant Sean Whitcomb told Kiro 7 News. “Last year there was talk about edible marijuana – that people would be giving it out. But we haven’t been reports of that either.”
As it turns out, the Jackson Police Department probably wasn’t the original source of this warning, as so many news outlets have reported. According to Snopes, a similar warning about candy-shaped ecstasy circulated on Facebook last month.
According to Snopes, two different individuals posted the same picture to Facebook last month, warning people about candy-shaped ecstasy. The Jackson Police Department post includes the same picture and borrows the text of the second warning verbatim.
Snopes also points out that ecstasy isn’t cheap, and that the amount of drugs in the image shared by the Jackson Police Department likely represents several hundreds of dollars worth of the illegal substance. So while it is true that ecstasy is available in colors and shapes that look vaguely like candy, it doesn’t seem tremendously likely that anyone would hand out such expensive drugs like literal candy.
Regardless of whether or not ecstasy is actually going to show up in your kid’s Halloween haul, checking for evidence of tampering isn’t necessarily a bad idea. Uncovering a hidden razor blade might be just as unlikely as finding ecstasy in your child’s Halloween candy, but it doesn’t hurt to be extra safe when dealing with treats obtained from strangers under the threat of tricks.
[Photo by Sean Locke Photography/Shutterstock]