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Snapchat Promises To Crack Down On Illegal Drug Deals Following Protests
By Alexa Heah, 08 Oct 2021
Image via Snapchat
This week, Snapchat responded to protests about the sale of illegal drugs on its platform, saying it would take steps to combat the issue.
This comes as more overdose deaths have been reported in the recent months, due to drugs being laced with fentanyl—a fatal synthetic opioid.
Over the past year, the social media company said it had been “investing in proactive detection and collaboration with law enforcement to hold drug dealers accountable for the harm they are causing our community,” as per CNET.
One such incident was the unfortunate death of California teen Alexander Neville, who ordered what he thought were oxycodone pills on Snapchat. Unfortunately, the drugs turned out to be laced with fentanyl.
“Alexander took one pill that killed and that pill had enough fentanyl in it to kill him and four other people,” his mother, Amy Neville, told ABC.
She has since met with Snapchat executives, urging them to do more to curb such exchanges from happening on the app. Her guess was that the ease of access has led more children, who normally wouldn’t meet with a drug dealer, to order illegal drugs through social media.
“The fact it looks so normal and these drug dealers are promoting that they have legitimate prescription pills, it makes it way too easy,” Neville said.
Snapchat said one measure it’ll be taking is the introduction of a ‘Heads Up’ feature, which will serve as a portal within the app to educate teens. Content from organizations such as Song for Charlie, Shatterproof, and Substance Abuse, will be made available should a user look up drug-related searches.
“We have heard devastating stories from families impacted by this crisis, including cases where fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills were purchased from drug dealers on Snapchat,” the company wrote in a blog post.
“We will work tirelessly to do better and do more to keep our community safe.”
Image via Snapchat
[via CNET and ABC, images via Snapchat]
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