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FBI Investigating Snapchat's Role In Teen Fentanyl Deaths

The self-destructing messaging and picture-sharing platform Snapchat is being investigated by the FBI for the app’s role in the sale and distribution of fentanyl to teenagers.

According to a report from Bloomberg citing multiple sources familiar with the matter, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been looking into the use of Snapchat by drug dealers after multiple teens died following their use of Snapchat to purchase pills purported to be standard painkillers that instead turned out to be fentanyl.

According to the report, the Bureau has been in contact with the parents of deceased teenagers, hoping to access their accounts in order to track down the criminals that sold them the drugs.

Jim Carroll, a former member of the Trump administration who served as the principal advisor to the president on matters concerning drug policy, currently serves on Snapchat’s safety advisory council and spoke to Bloomberg about their report.

“From everything I have read, I do believe that Snapchat has been more widely used for facilitating drug sales,” Carroll said.

Both Democrats and Republicans have been focusing on the role technology plays in the drug trade, particularly how these new tools have enabled criminals to sell to children.

Earlier this month, Senator Maggie Hassan toured one of New Hampshire’s digital forensic labs, touting the agency’s efforts to track the ever-changing tactics of drug dealers and criminals that have increasingly incorporated technology into their repertoire.

“Protecting public safety is the government’s most important task, and I am grateful for Grafton County Digital Forensic Lab’s efforts to keep New Hampshire communities safe,” said Hassan. “As criminals target drug sales to young people through their phones and social media, the digital lab is doing crucial work to investigate and prosecute these and other crimes. I appreciated hearing an update on their efforts, and I will keep working to ensure that law enforcement have the tools and resources that they need to do high-tech crime solving.”

Meanwhile, other lawmakers in the capitol today held a round table discussion on the role big tech plays in the illegal sale of narcotics.

“Everybody has a case in their District, more than one,” said Rep. Larry Bucshon during the meeting. “I have a 19-year-old woman, Elisabeth Duncan, who lost her life to fentanyl and fentanyl poisoning from counterfeit prescription pills that she got from a dealer online who was advertising fentanyl, marijuana, and fire arms – believe it or not – on Snapchat. It is up to the people in this room to come up with meaningful and effective solutions so we can protect children in my district in Indiana, and in communities across America, from these dangers and hold these platforms accountable.”

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