REPORTING DRUG DEALERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
While law enforcement and social media companies endeavor to keep their communities safe, it is an unfortunate fact that drug dealers are still making their way onto social media. Social media is the new ‘dark alley’ for drug dealers, and we ALL need to help to keep dealers out of our virtual neighborhoods. If you see someone selling drugs on social media, we encourage you to report what you are seeing to the social media companies or to the DEA.
If you have experienced the loss of a loved one, we send our heartfelt sympathy to you. If there is an open investigation, we recommend you talk to your law enforcement investigators before reporting the dealer to the social media companies to ensure you do not impede the investigation. Ask the investigators when is the appropriate time to report the dealer to social media, and who will do that. Don’t just assume the dealer’s account will be deleted— not all law enforcement agencies do this and reporting a dealer could save a life.
IntroA little time planning can go a long way and give you much more success than just forwarding a mail or a link. Think through these topics and be sure to do your research.
Educate yourselfMake sure you have a good understanding of what is happening with the drug landscape in America with the introduction of fentanyl so you are able to competently and confidently speak to the issues. Some good resources: The Fentapill Problem: A Summary Parent Resources
Personal StoryAre you a bereaved parent yourself or have a close friend or family member who is? Personal stories have huge impact. Think about if and how you want to tell that story as part of this effort in a way that makes the impact you are looking for and respects your child and family. Decide what aspects of your story you are not willing to share or are not important to the main message.
Local NewsLocate one or more relatively recent news stories from your own community or those nearby (google ‘fentanyl’ and your city or state). The more current and specific the story is about age, Fentapills, social media, etc., the better. Save these web links.
DataFind key data points and information about fentanyl/fentapills from reputable places that support the idea that this is needed in your community. If you can access local data and information through your local health department or law enforcement, that is ideal. Also be on the lookout for specific data points in local news articles. Songforcharlie.org is a good place for national numbers. Here are some links that can help you find national and state insights: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/drug-overdose-data.htm#dashboard https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/2020/han00438.asp https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/analysis.html https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/synthetic/index.html https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/statedeaths.html https://emergency.cdc.gov/han/han00395.asp https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids/opioid-summaries-by-state
Existing curriculumIf your school district publishes their learning standards and/or curriculum, find out what is already included on this topic. If you have a teacher contact that teaches health curriculum, they can help you find this. It can be helpful if you know the specific learning standard/target you are trying to influence (i.e.: “Educate students on the social and health impacts of misuse of controlled substances”). If you can get your hands on classroom content, it is helpful to know if it specifically covers fake pills that can easily bought on social media so you know if there is a gap in the existing curriculum being taught in your schools.
Note, for the safety of their followers, social media companies will not disclose the names/user IDs of anyone who reports a dealer. Please do not hesitate to report dealer if you see one. You could save a life!
The social media companies still have a lot to do to keep our communities safe. We encourage you to read and understand the safety policies of the social media companies, understand what you can do to protect your kids, and advocate for the social media companies to make their platforms even safer.