School Safety Unit

GettyImages-825391164Illegal Drugs are Being Bought and Sold on Social Media

Youth are using social media apps to buy and sell drugs (PDF). The drugs being sold online are not always what they seem. Fentanyl, an opioid stronger than heroin, has been found in pills and other drugs being sold online and on the streets. The use of fentanyl may result in immediate death.

Where to Look

Snapchat is one of the most popular apps for buying and selling drugs since the messages disappear automatically. Instagram is another popular platform. With both apps, dealers initiate contact with teens to find new clients. They will ask for their location or mailing address and once payment is sent, they will deliver the drugs either in person or through the mail. A teen only needs money, an account, and an address. 

Warning Signs

  • Changes in peer group
  • Carelessness with grooming
  • Decline in academic performance
  • Missing classes or skipping school
  • Loss in interest in favorite activities
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Deteriorating relationships with family and friends

What to Do

  • Talk to your teen. 
  • Emojis, slang words, and hashtags are often used as codes for drugs. Stay up to date with the latest ones.
  • Have access to your teen’s passwords.
  • Follow or friend your teen on their social media accounts.
  • Monitor money exchanging apps/accounts. Watch out for emojis that represent drugs or payments that don’t make sense to you.