1. Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.

Facebook, Instagram crack down on online illegal drug trade

  1. Phungushead
    Facebook and Instagram have launched a crackdown on the trade of illegal drugs online, with one US journalist calling the practice an "absurd" by-product of the social media age.

    A series of investigations has revealed drug dealers operating in plain sight, by advertising their products using images and hashtags on social media websites.

    "It all takes place on the internet, it's right in front of everyone", says Eric Sundermann, a journalist at Noisey.com who was part of a team that uncovered prescription cough syrup cartels plying their wares on the photo-sharing website Instagram.

    One investigation prompted Instagram, which is now owned by Facebook, to act - banning several searchable hashtags and keywords in an effort to restrict the free flow of communication between dealers and those looking for drugs in the internet's social spaces.

    "It's almost outside the drug itself it speaks to kind of absurdity of our culture at large right now," Mr Sundermann told the ABC.

    Drug dealers using hashtags to find potential customers

    A highly-publicised investigation by the BBC's new social media unit, #BBCtrending, revealed drug dealers have been posting photos of various drugs including marijuana and MDMA and offering up deals to potential customers.

    The dealers, based mostly in the US, tagged photos with hashtags as inconspicuous as #marijuana and #mdma.

    Instagram issued a statement to the BBC, stressing "people can't buy things on Instagram, we are simply a place where people share photos and videos".

    But the report revealed the two parties finalised the drug deal, on where to meet up and collect the illicit substances, on other smartphone messaging apps like Whats App or Kik.

    "We encourage people who come across illegal or inappropriate content to report it to us using the built-in reporting tools next to every photo, video or comment, so we can take action," the statement from Instagram said.

    A search of the drug-related terms now delivers no results to users.

    Journalist finds prescription cough syrup market on Instagram

    Up until a few months ago a search on Instagram for the drug nicknamed Lean, returned thousands of pictures.

    "Hashtags like #TeamLean, #DirtySprite and #LeanOnMe threw up heaps of results on Instagram," Mr Sundermann said.

    He explains that Lean is concentrated prescription cough syrup mixed with a soft drink and is the drug of choice for the US rap community.

    "It's got codeine in it and mimics the effect of heroin," he said.

    "Rappers have it topped off with a jolly rancher lolly, giving it a purple or pink colour and they sing songs about Lean and Sizzurp."

    The investigation launched by one of Noisey's journalists uncovered several drug dealers using the hashtags and went right back to the suppliers of the prescription cough syrup.

    "We found people taking photos of pallets of it in factories ... and then marketing it to people at cheap prices," Mr Sundermann said.

    He does not believe banning the search terms will make much difference, citing the shutdown and now reopening of underground online store Silk Road.

    Mr Sundermann says authorities have to get used to everyday illegal activities becoming common place on social media websites.

    "This is an example of meme culture or just of internet culture in general," he said.

    "It continues to leak into the mainstream and leak into daily life and daily activities."

    9 Nov 2013, 7:00am AEDT

    Mark Di Stefano
    ABC News
    Image: A drug dealer poses in an Instagram photo with bottles of concentrated prescription cough syrup, which mimics the effects of heroin. Noisey.com/Instagram


  1. trdofbeingtrd
    It mimics the effects of heroin.......I have been wasting my money obviously.

    (That's a little sarcastic humor right thar)

    The facts are facts, social media apps and sites will always be used, it's just the people who are so out right and blatantly blunt about what they are doing seem to get this attention.
  2. Alien Sex Fiend
    Are people that silly to sell dope on Istaghram? I ve heard of it but i never believed it. I don't have instagram so i can't check. you give away all the evidence you have and no lawyer can save your sorry ass. I ve seen people selling off craigslist (they also use tor), they tell people the location in the original message, ask at what time and when the customer answers to the coded link telling the time and go for it. that way the dealer doesn't have to show his email since his original message is always coded. people get busted right and left of course. i hope this is not sourcing because i already told you its a really bad idea from the start
  3. C11H15
    i agree with the idea of drug dealers being chucked off social networking sites, but next it will be anyone who has ever posted a photo of a drug or it's use.
  4. MikePatton
    I've heard, probably on this site, of people getting in trouble with police after posting photos of a bit of weed on instagram. Seems pretty fucking stupid to use it to sell drugs on a large scale, since it's completely fucking public...

    It's like going outside with a megaphone and screaming "I sell drugs!".
  5. whatstheproblem
    this is sad and sucks on quite in a few areas.

    First, this is the perfect reason that authorities can use for surviellence on the internet without our consent. They could argue they need to have this eye on people for reasons of age, spread of drug through out broader areas, that it might increase violence etc. the day when we have censorchip take place is gonna be a cold and dark one.

    This is an enitity that nobody thought was gonna get this huge. but its a place they have very little control on ideas and the spread of different ways of thinking so the Internet censorship is definitly on its way.

    Sadly, this is the youth that is coming up today. im not old and wise by any means but i know the only way that we got connects was by talking to people face to face. networking almost. if you didnt do that, you didnt know the right people when

    today they want to bury their head in the last hand gadget and they want to get everything thru it. instead of getting up the heuvos to go get a bag yourself they want to paypal it. their just isnt as much face to face communication as their was even seven years ago.

    Just another area for them to divert the Drug War failure and take the heat off the doomed state it is in. i can just see it. "The new method of getting drugs to our children, Internet Madness." Lets dump as many millions into this as we can.

    i might be all negative here but it just seems that this kind of stuff can open up a whole bunch of cans that have been rotting in the corner of a wherehouse for years that our children will have to deal with
    Drugs are everywhere and their use and availability are ever increasing at an unstoppable rate.

    If our children want to get their hands on them they will no matter how hard the government attacks these sites.

    Our governments will never have enough resources or brain washed community members to control the use of drugs.
    The governments need to control the quality of drugs removing adulterated harmful substances from being available and need to teach harm reduction.

    Drugs are a fact of life like sex n i can guarantee you sex will always be available on the internet even on Facebook.
  7. assassoid
    I see promethazine with codeine being rescheduled in the near future... it's already a CIII am i right?
  8. CaptainKrunch
    I know this article is from Australia but per Drugs.com, in the United States: "Promethazine hydrochloride and codeine phosphate syrup is a Schedule V Controlled Substance."

    I honestly couldn't find much on the subject though.
  9. DiabolicScheme
    This just in, cell phones, home phones and even instant messaging services have been used for drug trade GASP!

    This is like holding cell phone companies responsible for people using their service for drug trade. Absolutely absurd.

    I am so sick of the media, society and the government blaming everything but the person or parents. I mean just yesterday they were trying to imply that the porsche that killed Paul Walker was too dangerous.

    As for surveillance on the internet NSA has taken it upon themselves to monitor the internet and millions of cell phone records, of course its all in the interest of the US citizens to protect us from 'terrorism'. So the US has already been using the terrorist angle for the last 12 years. The way people just take the government's crap I see it getting worse not better.
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!