Growing numbers of teenagers and young people are buying illegal drugs on social media sites such as Snapchat and Instagram.
Social media sellers use hashtags and emojis to indicate what they stock, posting images of their stock.
Although illegal, social media platforms often find it difficult to regulate this online behaviour.
Due to their algorithms, being based off the popularity of content, it is very easy for drugs to surface to the frontpages of the social media pages.
The majority of drugs being sold on these pages is cannabis, but any street substance can be easily sourced.
Party drugs such as MDMA and ecstasy are popular, in England, but lately even benzodiazepines such as Xanax have been advertised. These drugs are all readily available on Salford streets, only becoming more accessible through social media.
Tom Young, a full-time foster carer said: “One of the main worries is that these drugs are being bought from complete strangers. If you know the dealer you are less likely to be ripped off by them, potentially resulting with young people ending up in hospital.
“I worry for my kids because their whole lives are on their phones. And they are far more tech savvy than me, so if they were on these types of pages, I know they would be able to hide it from me.’’ Stated Mr Young, who lives on Irlam O’th Heights.
One of the main concerns is the ease of accessibility that social media offers, meaning that the potentially very young could be buying drugs and putting themselves in very dangerous situations.
Saif Rafiq, a local student talked about the ease of such pages: “I have used Instagram pages mainly, and yeah Manchester is rife with dealers selling their wares online. I mean I know it doesn’t bother me, but I can see how it can be pretty dangerous’’
Office for National statistics states that the rates of death from benzodiazepines in 2012 in the UK were 284, whereas in 2016 there were 406 deaths related to this drug.
These figures have been steadily rising and show no inclination to stop soon.
If you need help with drug related issues, pop into a rehabilitation centre. Have a look where is closest to you: