Is Social Media Spreading Misinformation About Drugs?

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Is Social Media Spreading Misinformation About Drugs?

It’s no surprise that social media abounds with false information on a wide range of topics.  Some of it can be easily detected and ignored or laughed off.  However, when it comes to misinformation about drugs, these erroneous facts or myths can be deadly.

Examples of Misinformation About Drugs on Social Media

Sadly, teens are extremely vulnerable to believing the false information found on social media.  If several of their friends post the same story, it must be true, right?  Absolutely not.  But, the situation of social media myths or lies goes beyond the scope of human decency in many cases.

The following misinformation about drugs can easily result in an overdose or death for some innocent and unsuspecting individual.

Myth:  The Benadryl challenge.

Misinformation about the effects of Benadryl circulated on social media, challenging people to take the drug to experience hallucinations.  Although Benadryl is a prescription drug, it is not safe when consumed in high doses such as those suggested on social media.

Myth:  Cannabis is a cure-all.

Posts on social media claim that cannabis-based medicinal products cure everything from pain to terminal cancer.  There is not enough research to support these claims.  This type of information gives false hope to people who suffer chronic pain and diseases.  If these individuals stop taking their regular medication and switch to cannabis without consulting their doctor, serious consequences can occur.

Myth:  Touching fentanyl is deadly.

This myth originated in Texas and reached about 67 million people through social media.  Although the information is not entirely untrue, it may result in people not helping someone who has overdosed on fentanyl because they fear touching the substance.

Myth:  Krododyl makes you superhuman.

Posts on social media about people ripping off their clothes and having their flesh eaten away insinuates that the drug provides superhuman strength.  This may sound enticing to someone who is a risk-taker or who wants attention.

Myth:  Cocaine is safe.  Everybody’s doing it.

If you believe the myths about cocaine you’ll think it is safe, has no side effects, makes you more alert, improves sex, and is not addictive.  The truth is that cocaine is addictive and dangerous and if laced with fentanyl, or taken with other drugs or alcohol, it can be deadly.

Myth:  Life is more fun with alcohol.

Studies show that posts on social media that glamorize, normalize, or promote alcohol use are rampant.  Photos and videos depicting intoxicated people supposedly having the time of their lives are widespread on all social media platforms.  Researchers also found that the majority of responses to these posts thought them to be humorous.  This positive feedback is partially responsible for the increased frequency and intensity of alcohol-related behaviors among youth and college students.

Misinformation about illicit drugs is costing lives daily across the United States.  These young people will never realize their goals and dreams and society as a whole will suffer the loss of their contributions.

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Who You Should Believe About Drugs

If you are a teen or young adult and are considering experimenting with drugs or alcohol, don’t ask your friends for advice.  They probably get their information from social media.  Instead, talk to someone you can trust such as a school counselor, your parents, a community self-help center, or other qualified, knowledgeable individuals.  Also, you can find reliable information on the Internet.

For instance, check out these sites:

Remember, social media is can be used for good or bad.  Not everything you see on there is true.  Be sure to ask questions and seek the truth about some of the things you view online.

If you have developed a problem with drugs or alcohol, ignore the misinformation about drugs on social media.  Talk to someone who can help you get treatment right away.

Resource:

  • ncbi.nlm.nih.govThe Influence of Social Media on Addictive Behaviors in College Students

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