Social Media's Role in Teen Overdose Deaths | The Discovery House
How Social Media Plays a Role in Surging Teen Overdose Deaths in the U.S.

How Social Media Plays a Role in Surging Teen Overdose Deaths in the U.S.

In recent years, the United States has seen a surge in teen overdose deaths. This is a major problem and needs to be addressed immediately. Teens are dying from drug overdoses at an alarming rate, and something must be done to stop it. In this blog post, we will discuss the potential cause of this epidemic and what can be done to address it.

Teens and social media use

Teens – our future leaders of America. In an ideal world, after high school, they go to college in the hopes of obtaining a good job and making a difference in society. However, many young people are unable to realize this ambition due to their peers’ influence. It is due to teens being more connected than ever before, thanks to their increased usage of smartphones.


Many teenagers utilize their smartphones to go online and on social media. While this isn’t always a bad thing, it can be harmful if they aren’t used positively. For example, some teens use social media to compare themselves to others, which might lead to feelings of inadequacy and sadness.

Many teens also use social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, or TikTok to share violent images and videos that could glorify illegal drug activity. Study shows that usage among teens in social media apps like TikTok and Snapchat is up by 44% in the past year.

When the lockdown kept teenagers from engaging in other activities outside of their homes, it only made matters worse. When they were unable to go outside, many teenagers undoubtedly spent more time inside, resulting in feelings of isolation from the rest of the world.

How social media affects teens

There is no doubt about the combination of teenagers’ feelings of inadequacy and sadness when using social media platforms while having the potential for other kids to share violent images and videos to glorify illegal drug activity is a recipe for disaster.


It’s due to the fact that the adolescent brain is still growing. The prefrontal cortex, which controls judgment, decision-making, and impulse control, does not complete its development until around the age of twenty. It’s no wonder that young people make impulsive judgments without considering the consequences – their brains are still developing.

The teen years are a time of great change and growth. It’s a time when many young people are trying to figure out who they are and what they want to do with their lives. It is also a time when they are especially vulnerable to the influence of their peers.

Many teens experiment with drugs and alcohol, thinking they are invincible. They don’t realize the potential dangers of drug use because their brains aren’t fully developed yet. It’s a recipe for disaster when mixed with the peer pressure that is prevalent among teens.

How teens are prone to overdose deaths in the U.S.

According to a study done in 2019, overdose deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl have increased by nearly 50% each year since 2013. In 2017 alone, over 28,000 people died from overdoses involving these drugs.

With the Coronavirus pandemic, many teenagers are more prone to experimenting with drugs because of the boredom and isolation they are feeling. In a recent study done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it was found that one in four teens reported using drugs or alcohol to cope with the pandemic.

How social media is used as an avenue for illicit drug activity

Last year, a 16 year old teen lost his life due to an accidental overdose on pills that were laced with fentanyl. His mother, talked about the dangers of social media and how it contributed to her son’s death. She mentioned that a drug dealer on Snapchat posted a drug menu, which her son then purchased Xanax from and had delivered to their home.

a woman laying on the floor with her eyes closed and arms outstretched with a bottle of white pills knocked over and spilling out near her hand

The mother found him later that day on the ground, on his back with vomit coming out of his mouth. Unfortunately, It was too late for her because her son’s breathing had slowed and he had choked on his vomit.

The teen’s mother warns parents to be careful about how their teens use social media platforms like Snapchat as it could be easy access for teens to buy drugs.

Why is fentanyl the leading cause of overdose?

First, we have to understand what Fentanyl is.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. It is often used to lace other drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine.

The CDC also reports that overdose deaths from prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999. In 2017, over 47,000 people died from overdoses involving prescription opioids.


Counterfeit prescription drugs are becoming more difficult to detect. This makes these drugs even more dangerous because users don’t know they are taking fentanyl. And even a small amount of this drug can be deadly.

These numbers are alarming and show just how dangerous it is to experiment with drugs. And yet, many teenagers still do it. They think they are invincible and that nothing bad will happen to them. But the reality is that drug use can lead to addiction, overdose, and death.

What are the signs of teenagers using drugs?

Teenagers can show drug use in different ways.

Some common signs that your teenager may be using drugs are:

  • sudden changes in mood or behavior
  • problems at school or home
  • losing interest in activities they used to enjoy
  • withdrawal from friends and family
  • changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • unexplained weight loss or gain
  • secrecy and lying

It is important to pay attention to these signs and to talk to your teenager if you have any concerns.


If you think your teenager may be using drugs, there are a few things you can do:

  • You can talk to them about your concerns
  • Get the help from a professional
  • Look into drug prevention programs in your community.

The first step is to start a conversation with your teenager about drug abuse. It may be tough to talk about drugs, but it’s crucial to have an open and honest conversation with your teen about the dangers of using them.

If you are worried that your teenager is using drugs, you can also get help from a professional. There are many drug prevention programs available that can help your teenager learn about the risks of drug use and how to stay safe.

The teen years can be a difficult time, but by talking to your teenager about the risks of drug use, you can help them make healthy choices and stay safe. If you have any concerns about your teenager’s behavior, please reach out to a professional for help.



We need to protect our future leaders, the teenagers of America, at all costs. As a parent, you have the power to prevent your kid from becoming a statistic by being proactive.

It’s important to monitor your teenager’s phone and social media activity so you’re always aware of what’s going on. It is another approach to keep them from making a poor decision that might ruin their life by personally educating them about drug addiction and the dangers involved.

The mother from our story earlier was devastated after she found her son dead on the floor after purchasing a counterfeit Xanax in Snapchat that had been mixed with fentanyl.

Do you think she could’ve prevented his death if she had closely monitored her son’s phone?