Snapchat launches in-app tool on drug dangers following fentanyl deaths

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CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Snap is launching an in-app tool to educate users searching for drug-related keywords on Snapchat about the dangers of drugs and is working on tools for parents to help keep teenagers safe on the service, the company said Thursday.

The news comes after a public safety alert from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which warned about an increase in fake prescription pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine often sold on social media and e-commerce sites.

Samuel Chapman lost his son to an accidental fentanyl overdose. He shared his story on Morning in America.

“Our son Sammy is forever 16 because he found a dealer on Snapchat,” Chapman said. “Snapchat is the dark web for children because they make the screen disappear. They also have a locator so you can find where the kids are … it’s the most dangerous combination you can think of.”

Recently, social media platforms, including Facebook, are under scrutiny from lawmakers over their impact on young users’ safety and well-being.

Chapman recommends getting your child’s social media usernames and passwords to monitor their online activity until there is parental monitoring software on the platforms.

“We have heard devastating stories from families impacted by this crisis, including cases where fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills were purchased from drug dealers on Snapchat,” Snap said in a blog post. “We will work tirelessly to do better and do more to keep our community safe.”

Snap said it has developed a video ad campaign and a new filter to raise awareness of the dangers of fentanyl and counterfeit pills. The company said it would host a summit this month with law enforcement officials to improve lines of communication.

Credit: Snap Inc.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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