The internet has changed the world. In some ways, it has made it more complicated for parents. Today our children have access to more people and information than they ever have before. This presents the challenge of learning how to keep our children and teens safe. There are people selling drugs online, and young people know exactly how to buy those drugs. If you want to keep your children safe from addiction, there are some things you need to know about the internet and how youth are using it.
If you think that your child is struggling with drug use, there are people nearby who can help them recover. Please contact us at 706-480-8733 to be connected to a treatment center that is right for your child.
New Ways to Get Drugs
In the past, if someone wanted to buy illegal drugs, they had to know someone who sold them. They would then have to go out of the house to meet with that person. However, in the internet era, a teen doesn’t even have to leave home to buy drugs. Today more than ever, teens are finding ways to get their drugs online. Some people will sell and mail the drugs directly to them. Tragically, this is leading to overdoses and fatalities among our youth. Two Utah 8th-grade students died “after taking U-47700, a potent synthetic opioid, also known as ‘pink,’ they got from other teens who bought it online.”
Just the year before, a Minnesota teen overdosed and died after taking the synthetic psychedelic drug DPT (dipropyltryptamine) he bought online. The New York Times has reported that the internet is one of the most popular ways to sell synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Fentanyl has become a leading cause of deadly drug overdoses due to its high potency. The same problems apply to more traditional kinds of medicines. A child who becomes addicted to prescription medication can continue that addiction by purchasing the medication online.
How Is This Possible?
How is it possible to buy and sell illegal drugs online without getting caught? Many teens are looking to the so-called “dark web.” The dark web is a part of the internet that requires a special anonymous browser. This makes it very difficult to track down a person who posts material to the dark web. The dark web isn’t easy to navigate. However, it is worth all the trouble for many people to get what they want.
In many cases, teens don’t even need physical money to buy drugs. There are virtual currencies such as Bitcoin that can purchase items online. It’s not unlike having a bank online where you can transfer money without being monitored by a major financial institution.
There are ways for police to trace bitcoin usage if necessary. However, law enforcement does not control most of the transactions. Due to all the anonymity available through the dark web, bitcoin, and similar currencies, police can have difficulty tracking and shutting down illegal operations using those methods.
Legal Sites, Illegal Actions
You don’t have to go to the dark web to buy illegal drugs. A study by Royal Holloway, University of London, looked at how young adults use social media apps like Snapchat or Instagram to connect with people selling drugs.
A group of more than 300 youth with an average age of 18 were apart of a study. It found that “the convenience of organizing a transaction was the most commonly reported advantage, with 79% giving this as a reason for using apps. Alex, 27, told the researchers it felt ‘safe, easier and twice as quick as trying to nail down someone on the end of a line.’ Zach, 22, said: ‘Plenty of dealers in this area exist solely on Snapchat, so without it, I would’ve kept relying on people approaching me in the street or randomly bumping into people in clubs’ … Another perceived advantage was that apps ‘provided an opportunity to assess drug quality and safety’, in that dealers would upload images and videos of substances in a bid to reassure their buyers.”
Commenting on the study, lead researcher Leah Moyle said that while meeting someone in person was still the most popular method of obtaining illegal drugs, buying drugs through online apps grew in popularity. “Considering the popularity of apps and their potential to provide access to the wider commercial drug market, educating people of the possible risks of purchasing unknown substances from strangers on social media platforms is clearly both critical and urgent.”
Contact our professionals today for further information about getting help with addiction. We are here to help you on the road to recovery.
Keep Your Kids Safe
There are several tips for preventing your children from buying drugs online. It is important to keep the line of communication open with your young children or teens. Letting your child keep you updated with what is going on with their friends, school, interests, and more is key to developing a strong relationship with them. By being close to your child, you will be able to notice abnormal changes in their behavior. Developing a strong relationship with your child will help prevent them from pursuing drug use.
Be sure to also tell your children about drug abuse consequences, from jail time to overdoses to death. Point out that drugs can cause problems for anyone involved, not just the addicted person. In fact, there have been many cases where an individual goes to prison after giving someone drugs that caused an overdose.
If you are internet savvy, you know it is possible to look through the child’s web browser or Google searches to see what they have been searching for online. This may be a viable option in some cases. Any suspicious searches like “How to buy meth online” should be a cause of concern. It’s not pleasant or comfortable to “spy” on your child. However, it is a way of ensuring that your child isn’t engaged in dangerous or illegal activities. If you look through their browsing history, be sure to let them know that you are worried about them and only want to keep them safe.
Another option is to purchase one of the many parental control and monitoring apps available. These apps allow you to monitor what your child does online. Furthermore, it’s also important to monitor the mail deliveries to your home. If you or your child are receiving unmarked packages that you didn’t expect, that’s a sign that someone may be ordering something without you knowing it. Ask your children about such packages, and if possible, try to be there when they open them.
Let the Buyer Beware
It’s important to note that the same problems with buying illegal drugs online can apply to legal drugs. It’s possible to obtain legal medication from the internet through legal methods. However, that doesn’t mean there is less of a danger. Any drug can be dangerous if you don’t use it properly. Prescribed medication can be harmful if you don’t use it the way a medical professional tells you.
Many people are trying to promote certain medicines as a “wonder cure” for whatever ails you. Some of these sites even promote the idea of ordering online to save you the “embarrassment” of talking with your doctor. Doing so is incredibly dangerous. Ordering any drug online without consulting a doctor can put your health at serious risk. It is vital to check with your doctor before taking any kind of medicine that you purchase online. Don’t be embarrassed or afraid to tell your doctor what medicines you are taking. They need to know to be sure that you remain healthy.
A Canadian site outlined several more risks of buying drugs online. “Buying drugs from Internet pharmacies that do not provide a street address and telephone number may pose serious health risks. You have no way of knowing where these companies are, where they get their drugs, what is in their drugs, or how to reach them if there is a problem. If you order from these sites, you may get counterfeit drugs with no active ingredients, drugs with the wrong ingredients, drugs with dangerous additives, or drugs past their expiry date.”
These drugs may not harm you directly or immediately. However, your condition may get worse without effective treatment. In some cases, people may not receive the medication they order online. If it is coming from another country, authorities may stop it at the border. Do not suffer the risks of addiction alone. Contact our supporting staff today in order to talk to a specialist and start your journey to treatment.
College Youth Still at Risk
It’s tempting to think of drug abuse as a “public school” problem, or something caused only by peer pressure. Unfortunately, the issue goes on long after someone graduates from high school. Your child may be attending college, but they could still face the challenges associated with obtaining drugs online. Drug counselor and educator Joshua Ellow wrote about the issues that college youth face. He stated that “Students may be looking for different body size, something to promote positive moods or ergogenic aids to complement the increased demands of independence and extracurricular activities at this time in their lives.”
Unfortunately, the scientific rationale may outweigh funding streams, marketing efforts, and perception guarantees. Therefore, college students have their emotions fueled by the advertisements they see daily on various sites.
Understanding College Students
Many college students are using the internet for legitimate health purposes. The article describes the need for colleges to understand this behavior and enact policies consistent with it. Remember that in most cases, college students are adults and can’t be told what medicines they can and can’t buy online. If they make a wrong decision, they are responsible for the consequences of that decision.
The article recommends that colleges promote online safety while keeping in mind the online habits of students. It states that “If institutions of higher education want to remain current with their student body’s wellness-related needs, it is imperative to address this new behavior and support the students that need it the most. Akin to how these products market to students, I believe we must also promote a consistent message of support and care. Hence, these young adults graduate without reliance on external aids, and a genuine understanding of how online options can help or hurt their health.”
Get Help Today
A parent can’t control every moment of their child’s life. Fortunately, it is possible to promote good behavior by letting the child know that you care about their well-being. Remember that most youth can figure out how to buy drugs online. The best ways to prevent your child from abusing drugs are maintaining a good relationship with them and also educating yourself about drug use and how they may try to abuse drugs secretly.
If you know that your child is getting illegal drugs online, try to talk with them about the situation. Let them know how dangerous such drugs are and how horrible addiction can be. If the behavior continues, it may be time to ask for professional help. Please contact us today at 706-480-8733 to learn about facilities near you that can help people overcome addictions.