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Snapchat promises new rules to fight drug sales

Published: Feb. 24, 2022 at 4:43 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 24, 2022 at 6:52 PM EST
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(WWBT) - Snapchat says it’s making changes to make it harder for kids to buy drugs on its platform, and it has to do with how “friends” are recommended on the app.

An NBC News investigation published in October found that Snapchat was linked to the sale of fentanyl-laced pills that killed teenagers and young adults in over a dozen states.

Virginia did not have any confirmed deaths in that report. However, there were warnings from the Drug Enforcement Administration that drug dealers are marketing to teenagers through popular social media apps, selling drugs that look like prescription medication and delivering counterfeit pills to kids and young adults.

A special agent in charge of the warning says these sales often involve young people who use apps like Snapchat and Instagram to connect with dealers and order pills they think are safe but often prove deadly.

It may be as easy as finding the pills online, walking a few blocks to get them, and bringing them home.

So now, according to NBC News, Snapchat says new parental controls are coming to the social networking app. For example, there will be options to limit friend suggestions for teen users. That way, strangers can’t easily find their accounts.

Snapchat also says it will stop showing accounts for 13 to 17-year-olds as suggestions to others unless they have enough friends in common.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, or to learn more about how to speak with children about the issue, you can call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

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