Social Media, Smartphones and Drugs: What Parents Need to Know
It's a scary world out there for parents. We worry about our kids' safety, their health, and the decisions they make. But now we have to add something else to the list of worries—counterfeit pills.
What are counterfeit pills?
Counterfeit pills (or Fake Pills) can vary drastically in composition compared to their authentic counterparts, often containing either no active ingredients or dangerously high concentrations of opioids and stimulants. With counterfeit medications being so visually indistinguishable from the real thing, they are especially dangerous because people think they are buying legitimate prescription medications and don't know how lethal they can be.
Drug use has been an issue in society for decades, but the recent trends of fake pills and fentanyl have caused a surge in overdoses and deaths across the country.
According to Ann Milgram, Administrator of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), "Fentanyl is the deadliest drug threat we have ever seen." In the last 12 months alone, 107,000 lives were lost from overdose related to fentanyl-laced pills.
What is a lethal dose?
Pills can contain as little as 2mg of fentanyl—an amount that is considered a potentially lethal dose —and 6 out of 10 confiscated pills tested contained this amount of fentanyl. This makes it easy for unsuspecting users to take too much without knowing it.
Fake prescription pills are becoming increasingly prevalent on high school and college campuses. In particular, Adderall and other stimulants are being misused to perform better academically or to increase alertness during late nights of studying.
While these stimulants can be found on the street, they can also be obtained from other students who either have a legitimate prescription or who have purchased them illegally.
The widespread availability of these drugs has led to an increase in misuse of them among high school and college-age individuals.
Social media impact
What's worse is that drug traffickers are actively targeting children/young adults on social media sites like Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook.
Through these sites, they create profiles where they advertise drugs and conduct sales with potential buyers in plain sight without fear of repercussion or punishment from law enforcement agencies due to their anonymity online.
They also post pictures glamorizing drug use which may further encourage young people who may be looking for acceptance or an escape from reality.
Why does drug use look different today?
The landscape today looks very different than it did when we were growing up; access to drugs is easier than ever before thanks to technology like smartphones and social media sites that allow people to connect quickly and discreetly with one another.
What can we do?
As parents, we must take the steps to educate ourselves on what is going on in the world around us. What are current drug trends? What is happening with opioid overdose statistics? National drug control policy? Harm reduction techniques and how they could work with your family.
Keeping current with what is going on gives us more information to have an educated/fact-based conversation with our kids/young adults.
The best way is through open communication with your children about the dangers of drugs and substance misuse, which can lead to substance use disorder.
We want them to know what signs to look out for if someone tries to target them online or in person. And we want them to come to us if someone does or if they need help. Short, frequent conversations are best!
Additionally, you should monitor your children’s online activity so that you know what websites they are visiting and who they are talking to online.
Monitoring their internet activity closely so that we can stay ahead of any potential risks posed by drug traffickers targeting unsuspecting victims via social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter etc.
The time for action is now! Let’s work together as parents so we can keep our kids safe from this deadly threat!