Parental Alert

Social Media, the New Drug Dealer

Father and son sitting on sidewalk conversating

What was your world like when you were ten or fifteen years old? How did you spend time with friends? What was neighborhood safety like? Did you have a cell phone? Did you have a smartphone? Was there even anything such as internet safety? Was there an app for that? As parents, we must make sure we do everything we can to prepare our children for the negative influences they will encounter as they grow up. Chances are, you also monitor their text messages and phone calls. But…do you know what apps they are using? Do you know how to use the apps they use? Sometimes we must protect our children from situations that we as parents have no prior experience with or even knowledge of, and it is up to us to make sure we do our due diligence to learn.

Parental Alert: Maybe you have heard the latest news about how teens use social media to access any drug by simply using their social media. Or have you heard about teens who have overdosed and died from counterfeit pills? You probably know that seventy (70) Arizona teens died from unintentional drug overdoses in 2020. There is a new drug dealer in town, and it lives on your teen’s smartphone. Take Snapchat, for example; as a parent, I cannot monitor anything my teen does, who they talk to, or what they say. Did you ever test out how precisely accurate the location GPS is? We’re talking right down to the last foot of where you are in real-time.


Author  Joe Tracey  is Youth4Youth Program Director and member of the WOW Coalition. This prevention association promotes safe and healthy choices and responds to problems caused by alcohol, marijuana, and Rx abuse by implementing strategies to prevent and reduce youth substance use. For additional information, visit or contact him at

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