DEA administrator says Congress needs to pass laws to keep social media from serving as platforms to promote, sell fentanyl

by Kentucky Health News

The U.S. needs laws to force social-media companies to keep their platforms from being used to promote and sell fentanyl, DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said on NBC‘s “Meet The Press” Sunday, in a program that was devoted entirely to the drug and the problems it is causing. Just over half of the 2,135 drug overdoses in Kentucky last year involved fentanyl, a very powerful opioid.

“The border’s an important part of this conversation because most of the fentanyl that we see coming into the United States is coming in through the southwest border,” Milgram said, but “Social media is also a vital part of the conversation. It is what I call the last mile. Because what the cartels need – they’re selling the deadliest poison we’ve ever seen – they need that to … be able to expand and sell more, they need to be able to reach people at massive rates. And that’s what social media’s doing,” The Daily Wire reports.

Host Chuck Todd asked Milgram asked if social-media companies were cooperating with federal law enforcement in trying to fix the problem. She said, “We have not, until recently, gotten nearly as much cooperation as we need. . . . The deputy attorney general convened all of us in April of this year and made it very clear, number one, that the companies have to comply with their own terms of service, which say, ‘This is illegal. You cannot be selling fake pills. You cannot be selling drugs on social media websites’.”

Milgam also said law enforcement needs to be able to get information from social-media companies. Asked if there was something the DEA does not have that Congress could give them that would help them address the issue, she said, “So we talk a lot with Congress about social media. We talk a lot about the need for these platforms – essentially, one of the main ways we see Americans dying right now is through social media, the purchase of pills, fake pills on social media. So, again, if we’re after, how do we stop 110,000 Americans from dying?” She said Congress was “a place to start.”

Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

Top image: DEA handout on counterfeit pills.