Snapchat ‘Facilitated’ Fentanyl Sales To Kids, Lawsuit Claims

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Paul Aubert Contributor
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A lawsuit, filed this month on behalf of eight families against Snapchat, alleges the popular social media app “facilitated” the sale of deadly pills laced with fentanyl.

The lawsuit was filed in the state of California on Jan. 3, 9 News reported. It claims that various features of Snapchat have allegedly “encouraged” illegal drug sales which, in turn, have led to youth dying from fentanyl-spiked pills.

“Snap’s products have encouraged, enabled, and facilitated the illegal and deadly drug sales of counterfeit pills containing lethal doses of fentanyl to minors and young adults,” the lawsuit reads, according to 9 News.

In the lawsuit, the families referenced Snapchat users’ abilities to send disappearing messages and share their location as features that are helpful to drug traffickers and children hiding harmful lifestyles from their parents, 9 News reported.

“Its foundational product feature is disappearing messages, which draws in both minors interested in evading parental oversight and drug dealers interested in engaging with vulnerable minors without detection,” the lawsuit states, according to the outlet.

The families behind the lawsuit, which was filed by the Social Media Victims Law Center, claim they have all had family members die from fentanyl-laced pills they purchased through Snapchat, the outlet noted.

One of the individuals the lawsuit was filed on behalf of is Max Osterman, an 18-year-old who was killed by a fentanyl-laced pill. The lawsuit alleges Snapchat “began connecting drug dealers to Max via its public profile settings, user recommendation algorithm, and mapping and location features,” 9 News reported. (RELATED: Snapchat Is Trying To Stop Young Users Buying Fentanyl On Its Platform, But It’s ‘Too Little Too Late’ For Some)

The lawsuit alleges Osterman would have never died if Snapchat did not introduce him to the drug dealer that sold him the fatal pill, 9 News reported. “This is someone Max did not know outside of Snapchat, and with whom he would not have connected but for Snapchat,” the lawsuit alleges.

In April 2022, the Daily Caller News Foundation spoke with the mother, Amanda Faith Eubanks, of Luca Manuel, a 13-year-old who died after buying a counterfeit Percocet pill laced with fentanyl. Manuel, who had recently undergone root canal surgery, was seeking to buy a Percocet to subside pain from his operation. The pill Manuel purchased was manipulated to appear like a Percocet pill but in reality, was “pure fentanyl.”

“The dealer sold it to him knowing that it was fentanyl, and knowing how dangerous fentanyl is. I think that’s an important distinction, and that’s why he’s now charged with first degree murder,” Eubanks said.