Misinformation about illicit drugs has drastically increased in the social media space. With so many new and life-threatening drugs becoming available on the streets, there is an increased interest in the myths and realities of drug use. Unfortunately, media news outlets often publish stories that spread and repeat false information. Not only is this practice irresponsible, but it is also dangerous, leading to poor decision making around the issue of drugs. Education about illicit drug use is necessary to know the true horrors of drug addiction and the importance of seeking help.

What is Being Said on Social Media About Drug Use

Recently, social media has become one of the main places that people get their news. The convenience of news via social media is obvious, as it is easy to access, engaging, and can be easily shared with family and friends. Unfortunately, dangerous synthetic drugs are the common subjects of inaccurate news on social media. This misinformation can be harmful, especially to drug users. One example of false information spread through social media is regarding fentanyl, an opiate that is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. There was a myth on social media that you can overdose on this drug just by touching a small amount of it. Since it was perpetuated by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, many people took this misinformation seriously and it spread like wildfire. 

The Popularity of Misinformation

Researchers tracked the spread of this information between 2015-2019 using a social media analysis tool. They discovered that the false information had a reach of 15 times greater than the correct information that the medical community gave out, stating that overdose due to fentanyl skin contact is impossible. Most of this misinformation came from Facebook posts in Texas and Pennsylvania, reaching 67 million people. 

The Dangers of Misinformation

Misinformation can have dangerous consequences. For example, if people believe that fentanyl can kill you just by touch, chances are that they’ll be hesitant to give chest compressions to someone who has overdosed for fear of coming into contact with the substance and overdosing themselves. In situations like these, the truth can literally save lives. 

Furthermore, if there is misinformation that a drug can give you extraordinary physical strength, it might actually tempt potential users. The more dangerous the drug sounds, the more people will want to take the risk. Education on drugs and how to spot fake news could prevent the further spread of harmful information.

Social media can be a powerful tool for spreading information. However, instead of correct information regarding the dangers of addiction, misinformation is gaining more traction. Unfortunately, the spread of false information can be very dangerous, especially to drug users. We have a responsibility to educate the public about the harms of drug use in the most accurate way possible. Look no further than Alta Loma to teach you the truth. Located in Georgetown, Texas, our transformative treatment center works to educate all of our patients about addiction, as well as the best path to recovery. We can provide you with a residency for up to 24 months, 12-step programs, life and coping skills education, and more. Please call us at (866) 457-3843 for more information.


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You understand your needs best. If you have found yourself at a crossroads in your treatment and feel like your program options don’t fully understand you or aspects of your recovery, it’s time to contact the specialists at Alta Loma. We will help you craft the ideal care plan and secure the support you need, quickly, to avoid unnecessary problems. At Alta Loma, that’s our mission — to provide each individual with optimum care for the wellbeing they deserve.