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Instagram Cracks Down on Social Media Drugs & Content 


Instagram is a powerhouse app with over 500 million active daily users.1 That’s a lot of people interacting with one another, and unfortunately, it is difficult to manage millions of these interactions without damaging content falling through the cracks. The platform is now banning hashtags for drug-related content in an attempt to prevent the prevalence of drug use and even sales through its platform.2 At Banyan Treatment Centers, we support these efforts to remove the commonality of social media drugs and related content. It is a step in the right direction, though further addiction treatment is needed to help people fully find sobriety. 

Instagram’s Influence on Addiction 

Social media has found its way into many aspects of our lives, and sadly, Instagram’s influence is growing. Many people even buy and sell items through Instagram – including illicit drugs. Throughout the years, pictures of drugs could be shared among countless users on a daily basis. Dedicated users could even learn how to find a drug dealer simply by clicking through the associated hashtags.  

The formerly lax guidelines had even escalated to dealers pushing drugs through seemingly innocent posts, putting young impressionable users at risk. These are the primary reasons for the platform’s removal of drug-related hashtags, intended to stop these sales on the platform and help to prevent the worsening of addiction.2 Hashtags such as #fentanyl, #opiates, and #ketamine can no longer produce posts, helping to keep users from finding illegal substances using Instagram. 

In addition to banning these tags, Instagram is also making it easier for users to flag inappropriate content, such as content related to drugs or sales. This will hopefully lessen the link between social media and addiction, making the platform a safer, more sober space. Social media and addiction are far too connected, and as Instagram has been increasing its censorship of content, the connection is weakening. Still, the prevalence of social media drugs and related posts highlights a very real phenomenon that the app’s primary users are at risk for.  

Why Are Teens More at Risk for Addiction Than Adults? 

Not only may teens be more susceptible to peer pressure, but a lack of proper education regarding the risks involved can also play a part in teens being more at risk for addiction. Additionally, the fact that a teenager’s brain is not finished developing can be a major factor in the development of dependency and addiction. This interference with brain development can very well lead to severe issues later down the line. Substance abuse itself will already reduce the inhibitions of those who participate, and a young person that is not knowledgeable about this is even more at risk of finding themselves in dangerous situations.

Some of the common signs of drug abuse in teenagers include: 

  • Bad hygiene 
  • Disobeying guideline 
  • Falling behind in school 
  • Loss of interest in hobbies 
  • Withdrawal from family and friends 
  • Dishonest or sneaky behaviors 

While our Banyan locations treat patients that are 18 and older, drug use as a teen can greatly increase the risk of developing an addiction as an adult. That is why taking the steps now to prevent this is crucial, as the longer the abuse is allowed to continue, the harder it becomes to break away from it later. 

Treating Addiction at Banyan 

Putting an end to drug-related posts on Instagram is a step in the right direction to fighting the growth of addiction in the country. That being said, those who are currently struggling are encouraged to get professional addiction treatment, such as that offered at our family of facilities at Banyan Treatment Centers. Patients are able to move through our different levels of care, ensuring that they receive the most effective care for their unique needs. 

Many of our addiction treatment facilities also offer medical detox programs, which aid patients in navigating any withdrawal symptoms associated with their substance abuse. No matter the case, our team of acclaimed clinical professionals will do everything in their power to ensure a comfortable and positively transformative experience for all that walk through our doors. 

Contact us today at 888-280-4763 to learn about how we can help you or someone you love to get sober and reclaim your lives from the clutches of addiction. 



  1. CNBC - Instagram says it now has 800 million users 
  2. Concho Valley - Instagram cracks down on drug-related posts 


Related Reading 

Social Media & Drugs: Substance Abuse in the Internet Age 

Link Between Social Media and Social Anxiety 

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.