Snapchat on Thursday said it taking steps to stop illegal drug sales on its platform amid an increase in overdose deaths in the US linked to laced with fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and can be deadly even in small quantities.
"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," the company said in a blog post.
Snapchat said over the past year it's been "investing in proactive detection and collaboration with law enforcement to hold drug dealers accountable for the harm they are causing our community."
The company is also launching a new "Heads Up" feature in Snapchat. Heads Up is an in-app educational portal that will distribute content from expert organizations -- such as Song for Charlie, Shatterproof, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- when people search drug-related keywords on the app, aimed at educating people onand coping mechanisms.
The issue has been in the spotlight following a report by NBC News earlier this month describing the deaths of teens and young adults who were suspected of buying fentanyl-laced drugs through Snapchat.