In the new millennium, social media has boomed in popularity. Everyone from grandma to your neighbor’s dog has an account of some kind.
While many people are happy to use these platforms to share their stories of their latest vacation, pictures of their kids, or updates on what they are eating, social media also has some much less innocent uses.
The Rise of Social Media Drug Sales
With the rise of social media platforms, selling drugs online has become an increasingly popular phenomenon. One survey found that almost a quarter of young people surveyed had seen illicit drugs advertised on social media.1 Another report found that in 2018, 18.1% of abused drugs were purchased online, and 30% of cocaine users claimed to be able to have the drug delivered to them in less than 30 minutes after buying it online.2
This speedy service makes illegal drugs more accessible and may lead to more people getting addicted and needing substance abuse treatments in the future. With kids and young adults seeing drugs on Snapchat, Instagram, and their other social media accounts regularly, many fear that social media is also normalizing drug use. As a parent you probably have no idea how to buy drugs on social media, but your teenager may know, and worse, buying drugs on social media is also probably a lot easier than you think.
Snapchat in particular has become a popular avenue for buying drugs on social media. The app makes it easy because messages and photos may only be available to the viewer for a few seconds before erasing the evidence. Account stories are also only viewable for 24 hours and can be deleted at any time. Drug dealers can send mass picture messages of their drugs on Snapchat or post drug-filled stories on their accounts for potential buyers to see. All they have to do next is wait for the private messages to come pouring in. Because Snapchat has mostly younger users, young kids and teenagers are gaining easy access to these drugs.
Buying Drugs on Instagram
Instagram is another popular platform for kids to buy drugs online. Drug dealers will post pictures on the app of their current “products” to advertise to potential buyers. Instagram users can simply follow accounts of known dealers who post drugs on Instagram or search the right hashtag to find what they are looking for. In-app messages allow for easy communication between the Instagram drug dealer and the buyer. Many drug dealers will then take down the picture of the drugs on Instagram after moving their product.
Other Social Media Platforms
Although buying drugs on Snapchat and Instagram are very popular options, people can buy drugs on social media through any number of other platforms. Some drug dealers set up private Facebook groups to sell their products. YouTube chat rooms have been used for drug sales as well.3 People have used private messaging on Twitter to secure a drug deal. Even the LGBTQ dating app Grindr has been used to set up drug deals.4
Once connected through social media and the buyer places their order, the dealer simply needs an address. They will then send the drugs through mail or drop-off the goods at the given location and the buyer can send money through apps like PayPal. Because of this fast and easy delivery service, buying drugs on social media is a lot less intimidating than trying to find drug dealers on a sketchy street corner.
While many parents worry about their children experimenting with alcohol or even developing an alcohol addiction, the ease of buying drugs on social media makes drug abuse a more plausible problem for young adults than ever before. If you suspect that your child is using social media to buy drugs, talk to them about it, and if you believe that they may have developed an addiction, get them help immediately.
At Banyan Treatment Centers, we have several substance abuse treatment center locations that help people 18 and older get help for alcohol and drug problems. If your child has a problem, do not wait to step in and get them help. Addiction can quickly spiral out of control and your child could be in danger.
To find a facility near you or to get more information, call us today at 888-280-4763.
Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.
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