A few weeks back, we published an article about dependencies and social media. Specifically, how sites like Facebook and Instagram can sometimes trigger relapses and dangerous temptations. Well now, one more channel from that world is getting some addiction attention. Specifically Snapchat, which is now being called out as a forum where illegal drug transactions often take place.
The fundamental design behind Snapchat includes temporary pictures, which disappear over a span of 24 hours. If you think about it, that setup can lend itself quite well to illicit behavior. The latest stories surrounding it highlight drug dealers who send these disappearing messages to prospective buyers; coordinating when and where to pick up their stashes.
One of these stories received some added attention from noted therapist Dr. Laura Berman, who has appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network in a variety of capacities. Her 16-year-old son Samuel recently died of an overdose and she is placing at least part of the blame on his Snapchat activities.
Apparently, her son got in touch with a dealer via the social media channel and purchased a deadly batch of fentanyl. Berman claims he was only looking for prescription drugs and was unaware of the stash’s potency. Ultimately though, he died in his room after taking what had been sold to him via Snapchat.
Berman made a point to not place all the blame on Snapchat, but she did call out the dangers around these types of sites. She also strongly encouraged parents to pay close attention to their kids’ web activity.
“I wanted people to know that those ‘innocent experimental things’ you may be doing may be likely, because they seem to be everywhere, laced with fentanyl, which they do to get you addicted,” Berman told her local ABC affiliate. “My previous concerns about Snapchat had been centered on inappropriate photos, not drug use. It goes to show, though, even as children get older, parents should still ask for their passwords and monitor their online and social media activity for their safety.”
For the record, Snapchat did issue a statement of their own following the news. Though they did not admit blame, they did vow to work towards stopping this type of activity.
“We are committed to working together with law enforcement in this case and in all instances where Snapchat is used for illegal purposes,” a company rep told ABC. “We have zero tolerance for using Snapchat to buy or sell illegal drugs. Using Snapchat for illegal purposes is firmly against our community guidelines and we enforce against these violations. We are constantly improving our technological capabilities to detect drug-related activity so that we can intervene proactively.”