Facebook takes off posts with opioid-based hashtags on Instagram after FDA warning

Facebook takes off posts with opioid-based hashtags on Instagram after FDA warning

Making praiseworthy move toward supporting the federal agencies in combating the skyrocketing opioid crisis, Facebook has cracked down on the opioid-based posts and hashtags on Instagram. Consequently, any hashtags or posts containing drug names, such as #fentanyl, #oxycontin, #opioids, will not show any results.

In this context, the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app turned up more than 30,000 posts containing opioid-based hashtags with notes like “recent posts from #Fentanyl are currently hidden because the community has reported some content that may not meet Instagram’s community guidelines.” Emphaizing on zero tolerance toward illicit drug trading on Instagram, its spokesperson clarifed there is no space for such content that puts the safety of the community at risk.

The development comes in the wake of the condemnation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Scott Gottlieb of the internet leaders like Facebook, Twitter and Google for being lenient in policing the illicit selling and buying of opioids on their platforms.

Role of social media in combating opioid epidemic

Social media platforms are an open medium for people across the world. These platforms enable users to voice their concerns, express their feelings, communicate with their peers and also promote their products. As a result, these platforms have the largest user base, thereby giving companies the opportunity to promote and sell their products. Unfortunately, these platforms are also misused by drug peddlers for trading illicit drugs due to the lack of stringent monitoring and policing. Being an open medium, the risk of susceptibility to such drugs increases among users, particularly youngsters.

Additionally, the peddlers and pharmacies find these platforms more convenient because “those listings are less policed than search results,” said Timothy Mackey, a researcher at the University of California, San Diego. He along with his colleagues identified almost 1,800 listings of illicit sale of prescription opioids on Twitter, including 46 listings that were active even years after their initial posting. One can prevent users from falling into the trap of drugs by curtailing such activities on the social media platforms.

Further, the unavailability of the posts searched using drug-related hashtags would discourage users from using the platforms. In fact, it is a much-awaited measure that was expected from such popular social networking sites (SNSs) for a long. The lackadiascal attitude of the SNSs toward such a grave issue despite the increased illicit drug trade on their platforms has drawn a lot of criticisms.

Three years ago, an article had highlighted the use of hashtags like #XanaxForSale to peddle drugs on Instagram. The social media biggies had then shirked away from fulfilling their responsibility by issuing a generic statement asking users to adhere to its stipulations while uploading posts promoting regulated goods or services, including firearms, alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs or adult products. However, such a generic warning is not enough to tackle the rise of the opioid epidemic in the United States.

Dealing with addiction

The carelessness of SNSs toward illicit drugs has also been responsible for increasing the menace of opioids. On average, nearly 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. The opioid epidemic cannot be curbed or tamed with a single move. The popularity of prescription drugs needs to be controlled through awareness, education and seeking treatment for recovery. Many people are battling with the challenges of opioid addiction without knowing that the condition can be treated with a proper medical intervention.

Ideally, medical help should be sought immediately with the onset of the symptoms. However, the condition can be treated even at the advanced stages. Therefore, if you or a loved one is battling opioid addiction, contact Florida Prescription Addiction Helpline to know about the prescription drug rehab centers in Florida. You can call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-292-3211 or chat online with our representative to know more about prescription drug rehabilitation in Florida.