Fake News: Woman Did NOT Die From Overdose After Trying to Smoke Meth Through Her Anus

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Woman Did NOT Die From Overdose After Trying to Smoke Meth Through Her Anus

Did a 23-year-old woman named Brittany Washington die after trying to smoke meth through her anus via a glass pipe? No, that's not true: the story was made up by a site that published several copies of the story in a row, all set in different towns. And the picture of the woman used to illustrate the story actually came from a 2014 story about the arrest of a former beauty queen on meth charges.

The story originated from an article published by The Daily Star on May 13, 2019 titled "Frankfort, IN: Woman dies from overdose after trying to 'smoke meth through her anus'" (archived here) which opened:

A 23-year old Frankfort, Indiana woman who officials say tried to 'smoke meth through her anus' has died from an overdose of the drug.

Brittany Washington died from a massive overdose after her unusual attempt to smoke meth by placing a glass pipe into her anus caused her to absorb far more of the drug than would have been absorbed through normal methods.

"The anus is far more sensitive and much closer to internal organs, so whenever a drug user tries to take a substance anally there is a much higher risk of overdose,' warned one drug expert. "In this case, she didn't realize how much meth she was absorbing until it was too late."

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Frankfort, IN: Woman dies from overdose after trying to 'smoke meth through her anus'

A 23-year old Frankfort, Indiana woman who officials say tried to 'smoke meth through her anus' has died from an overdose of the drug.Brittany Washington died from a massive overdose after her unusual attempt to smoke meth by placing a glass pipe int

However the woman pictured with the story was not named Brittany:

Harrowing photo reveals toll of addiction to Breaking Bad drug on former beauty queen

Jamie Lynn France, 23, was the stunning Miss Teen Oregon-World in 2009 but five years later she spends her days in a squalid drug dealer's bolt hole. She is one of three suspects police in Keizer, Oregon, have released shocking before and after photographs of to show the horrid effects of crystal meth.

The site posted several other nearly identical copies of the story, variously set in Miamisburg, OH, Orlando, FL, Bloomington, IL, Meridian, MS, Fort Gay, WV and Baytown, TX (archived listing):

dailystar.jpg

The modus operandi (several identical stories set in different towns) and topic selection (anal accident) are reminiscent of an older network of fake news sites that has been inactive for a while now but which used to work in the exact same way:

Entire Network Of Fake News Websites Vanishes In Wake Of Mandalay Bay Hoax | Lead Stories

An entire network of fake news websites designed to look like local news outlets has vanished without a trace. Most likely it happened in the fall-out of a hoax from a month ago about a security guard at the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas supposedly being arrested as the "second shooter" after the mass shooting event on October 1st in which 58 people were killed.

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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