A group of U.S. Senators, including Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), recently penned a letter to the CEOs of Instagram, TikTok, Snap Inc., and YouTube asking what is being done to prevent the sale of fentanyl-laced pills through social media.
“We write to you today regarding reports that the use of your social media platforms has been linked to the sale of fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills that have caused the deaths of teens and young adults across the country. In light of the devastating rise in drug overdose deaths in the U.S., especially linked to fentanyl, we are requesting more information regarding the steps your companies are taking to protect children and crack down on illegal drug sales on your platforms,” the Senators wrote.
In the letter, the Senators request data on the number of drug-related transactions that take place daily through social media as well as the number of accounts that have been removed due to drug-related activity. They also ask if the social media platforms are actively working to raise awareness of the dangers of fentanyl.
Overdose deaths involving illegally manufactured fentanyl rose by 23 percent in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Social media platforms like yours provide a convenient venue for dealers to anonymously and discreetly peddle these counterfeit pills to a young audience. With 4 in 10 of these pills containing a lethal dose of fentanyl, more and more of these online transactions are ending in tragedy,” the Senators continued.
Other than Hyde-Smith, Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-Kan.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) signed the letter.