Instagram introduced an innovative feature that will automatically provide an offer of support to users who are searching for drug-related hashtags.
Instagram said that it decided to include the feature in its application since people have been using the platform's hashtags to not only look for addiction support and communities but also illegal drugs. The new peripheral will present users with references to opioids and other frequently used substances.
"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," the pop-up states.
While its new plug-in won't prevent people from finding drugs, Engadget said that it will give them a moment to find another treatment procedure as well as other details on prevention and recovery. Consequently, the user can then choose to get support resources that Instagram developed with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
In addition, Instagram will also put out pieces of advice for family and friends of people with substance abuse complications. Other than that, the company will also display a Treatment Services Locator.
Instagram Hopes To Reduce Drug-Related Deaths
According to a data gathered by the CDC, nearly two-thirds or more than 41,000 of drug overdose-related deaths in the United States were associated with a prescription or illicit opioid in 2016. Just last year, an estimated number of 25,000 people died from synthetic opioids and fentanyl.
Karina Newton, head of Instagram's public policy, said that the company is hoping to use its resources to prevent another death since the opioid epidemic has been affecting millions of people around the globe. Newton added that the move is part of Instagram's continuous commitment to being the kindest and safest social network.
"The opioid epidemic is an issue that affects millions of people, and we want to use our platform to offer resources to those who need it — in the places where they are seeking help. This is an important step for us in our ongoing commitment to make Instagram the kindest, safest social network," Newton said.
Prior to the move, Instagram has been doing battle with how to deal with knotty and likely destructive content. In 2012, the social media app decided to hide eating disorder hashtags before blocking the #curvy hashtag for a few weeks in 2015.
Photo: Michael Kwan | Flickr