Police Twitter accounts say the darndest things. Back around Halloween, New Jersey Department of Health officials were warning parents about $20 “Keef Kat” bars (i.e. edibles) being snuck in with 50 cent fun-sized Three Musketeers. Now that we are out of the spooky season and into the chilly season, Kansas police officers are warning winter drivers about, uh, fentanyl lollipops. Yes, Fentanyl, as in the opioid that’s more deadly than heroin.“I pledge to not leave my car running with the keys in the ignition just because I’m afraid of being a little cold for the first 3 minutes of my drive to work/school,” tweeted the Lawrence PD, “or because I am too lazy to scrape the windows. I realize that breaking this pledge will undoubtedly result in my car being stolen by some jackwagon who will trade it for a fentanyl lollipop.”
There are two reasons this seems odd, so for clarity’s sake, let’s address the lesser odd thing. Leaving your car idling unattended to warm it up on cold days is, in fact, illegal throughout Kansas, in cities like Missouri and Kansas City. Last November, a man in Overland Park left his partner’s car idling, only to have it stolen. After reporting it, he was dinged twice, being charged by police for leaving his car keys in the ignition. So, the Lawrence Police are basically saying, ‘don’t do that,’ just in a really weird and kind of way that isn’t sitting well with people in the state.
‘Fentanyl lollipops’ are not some drug of choice for carjackers. As the United States wrestles with an unprecedented addiction crisis, painkillers like Oxycontin are being abused across the country, both prescribed and unprescribed. Originally going under the name ‘Actiq,’ these lollipops were introduced in the late 90s by Dr. Ted Stanley as an alternative form of drug intake for cancer patients.
People who do have to use the lollipop method weren’t too impressed by the police’s decision to use them as a punchline. “I get that you all are just trying to get a point across in a humorous way,” responded one woman, a cancer survivor. “While I agree that ppl need to stop being stupid and not leave a car running unattended, as someone who lives with chronic pain every day, the jab about the fentanyl is below the belt.”
The PD then apologized: “It’s about people who thieve to sustain a drug habit, not people with legitimate medical needs. Sorry for not being clearer and for unintentionally offending.”