Launching an unprecedented public awareness campaign on the dangers of fentanyl

18 October 2022

Today, we are pleased to help launch an unprecedented public awareness campaign with the Ad Council, also funded by YouTube, to help educated young people about the dangers of counterfeit pills and illicit drugs laced with fentanyl.

Drug overdose-related deaths have skyrocketed in recent years, with 2021 seeing a 52% increase over the previous two years. Based on research from Morning Consult that we commissioned last year to better understand young people's awareness of fentanyl, not only did we find that young people were significantly unaware of the extraordinary dangers of fentanyl, but it also brought to light the strong correlation between the larger mental health crisis and the increased abuse of prescription drugs. As a platform many young people use to communicate with their friends, we are committed to helping protect our community, and we believe we have a unique opportunity to inform Snapchatters about the deadly reality of fentanyl-laced pills. While we have been focused on doing our part to raise awareness and educate Snapchatters on our app, we also believe a holistic approach is needed. That's why we worked with the Ad Council over the past year to build support for this important educational campaign, and we're pleased to be launching this effort with the Ad Council and our industry partners. 

The campaign, Real Deal on Fentanyl, aims to educate young people living in the US on the dangers of fentanyl and its prevalence in counterfeit prescription pills and illicit drugs. In the new public service advertisements, viewers will hear from former drug dealers as they teach high school students about the fentanyl crisis as part of their regular class subjects. Shatterproof, a national non-profit dedicated to reversing the addiction crisis in the US, served as an advisor to the campaign production. Song for Charlie, a national, family-run non-profit dedicated to raising awareness about 'fentapills' – fake pills made of fentanyl – is also serving in an advisory capacity, alongside a panel of public health organisations and experts, to provide key insights and data and ensure all aspects of these initiatives are accurately and medically informed. You can read more about the campaign and access additional resources and social graphics here.

As part of this effort, Snapchat will also launch a series of new Augmented Reality Lenses, Filters, Stickers and content that amplify the campaign's messages across our platform, which will also be available on our in-app drug educational portal, Heads Up. Additionally, Snap is providing £1 million in advertising credits to the Ad Council and working with a group of Snap Stars to help spread the word with our community.

This campaign builds on the work we have been doing over the past 18 months to help combat the fentanyl epidemic, in close collaboration with parents, experts in counter-narcotics and specifically the fentanyl crisis and law enforcement organisations. Together, we have developed new in-app tools and content to directly raise awareness with Snapchatters about the dangers of fentanyl and launched Family Centre, our in-app parental tool that gives parents insight into who their teens are communicating with on Snapchat. We have also dramatically improved our efforts to proactively detect and remove drug dealers who try to exploit Snapchat and increased our support for law enforcement investigations to bring these dealers to justice. You can read a recent update on our ongoing progress here.

While we believe this public awareness campaign is an important step in helping to educate young people and offer them important resources, we know there is still more work to be done. We will continue to prioritise the health and well-being of our community, work to develop more safeguards to help protect Snapchatters on our platform, and work with governments and technology and public health sectors on this urgent national crisis.

Back to News