Instagram has announced new tools to help users deal with drug abuse. As per The Verge, the image-based social media platform is displaying a pop-up to offer support when users search for certain drug-related hashtags. This includes references to illegal drugs, opioids and other frequently abused substances. The prompt reads, “If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid or substance misuse, find ways to get free and confidential treatment referrals, as well as information about substance abuse, prevention, and recovery.” It will obviously not stop anyone from searching for drugs on the platform but provide some time to pause, reflect and maybe encourage them to find help. The message shows ‘Get Support’, ‘See Posts Anyway’ and ‘Cancel’ options.
Instagram reportedly says that many people search for opioids and drug-related hashtags to search for support communities and help on the platform. However, there is also some that misuse this to sell drugs. There are said to be some cases where the company has blocked or limited these hashtags but this also becomes an obstacle in forming support communities, says Instagram. As per the report, the company has developed support resources with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. The feature will be available in the US from September 12 and is said to soon rollout internationally as well.
Searching for narcotics is not the only worrying thing on the social media platform as some people sell human remains like shrunken skulls, unborn or discarded foetuses, and bones from different parts of the body. The sellers have apparently shifted from selling the macabre items from other platforms such as eBay and Etsy as there is no policy against selling the macabre items on Instagram. You can read more about it here.