A recent article in the Guardian revealed how social media had become a place for drug dealers to peddle counterfeit pills, often targeting teens and young adults. Sold as Molly, Oxycontin, and other drugs that young people may think of as “safe,” the pills usually contain fentanyl. Some of the pills are 100% fentanyl. Either way, it’s killing people. Fentanyl quickly causes death in people who aren’t experienced opioid users. In fact, in America in the past several years, it has become the leading cause of overdose death. 68% of all overdose deaths in 2020 involved fentanyl.

Social Media’s Dark Side

Social media is a place where young people gather, meet with friends in confidence, and gossip. This has been especially true since the pandemic. So it’s no wonder that drug dealers are there and ready to find new customers.

Snapchat has, in the past, been a favorite app for drug dealers. It’s encrypted, and messages disappear after a certain amount of time. It has fun filters and special effects that are free to use. And it’s where the teens and other young people meet when they are bored or just hanging out in their bedrooms.

Facebook and Twitter have long had policies that ban drug dealers, and SnapChat has recently begun to crack down on illicit activities on its platform and cooperates with investigations. Yet the drug dealers can often make new accounts over and over again before the authorities catch on to them.

Harm Reduction For Drug Users

Harm reduction initiatives can help opioid users prevent overdose.

Narcan is a prescription drug that can help reverse opioid overdoses, but with fentanyl a user will often need multiple doses. There are also fentanyl testing strips that some clinics make available to people with opioid use disorder.

Treatment and recovery are the best way to reduce harm, but the idea behind harm reduction is that the user stays alive until they are able to ask for and get help for their substance use. If you or somebody you love is struggling with addiction, please look through our directory or search for a local 12-step meeting such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.