Honoring the Third Annual National Fentanyl Awareness Day

May 7, 2024

At Snap, we are constantly working to prevent the abuse of our service by criminals seeking to distribute illicit drugs, including counterfeit pills. Today, we’re honored to work alongside heroes – public health experts, law enforcement, and parent and family groups – to commemorate the third annual National Fentanyl Awareness Day.

As we mark this day, we want to provide our community with an update on our ongoing work to help combat this devastating and urgent public health crisis.


Snapchat is an app designed to bring people closer to the people who matter most to them in real life by communicating privately, just like face-to-face conversations or talking on the telephone. Even though messages are deleted by default, if we take action on illegal or abusive content, either because we proactively detect it or it’s reported to us, we retain that content for an extended period. We have been working for years to remove drug dealers who try to operate our platform, including by using advanced technologies.

  • Proactive Detection Tools: We deploy and routinely improve technology that helps us proactively find and shut down dealers’ accounts. Our most advanced models now help us proactively identify approximately 94% of detected illicit drug activity, allowing us to take this content down before it can be reported to us. 

  • Quick Action on Reports: Our Trust and Safety Team works around the clock to respond to any reports we receive about drug-related content as quickly as possible. Our most recent Transparency Report shows our team typically responds to drug-related reports in under an hour. 

  • Blocking Searches: We block search results for a wide range of drug-related terms, instead redirecting Snapchatters to resources from experts about the dangers of fentanyl. 

  • Coordinating with other Platforms: Knowing that drug dealers use a range of services to communicate, we work with experts and other tech companies to share patterns and signals of drug-related content and activity – allowing us to improve our proactive detection efforts to find and remove drug content and dealer accounts. 


Our Law Enforcement Operations team is dedicated to quickly responding to law enforcement inquiries, helping to bring criminals to justice. We maintain strong relationships with law enforcement to ensure that they can take swift and appropriate action with regard to illegal activity on our platform. Our key priorities include:

  • Expanding our Team: The Law Enforcement Operations team has grown more than 200% in the past 5 years, and about 80% since 2020. We typically respond to valid legal requests within two to three weeks, and to emergency disclosure requests within 30 minutes. 

  • Proactive Escalations: In situations where we believe there is an imminent threat to life, we will proactively escalate a case to law enforcement. We also retain violating content for an extended period after we've terminated accounts for drug-related violations of our Community Guidelines, in the event that law enforcement wants to follow up. 

  • Supporting Legislation: Additionally, we worked with members of the Senate on bipartisan legislation, The Cooper Davis Act, that paves the way for greater cooperation between social networking companies and law enforcement to combat fentanyl. 


We are committed to educating Snapchatters and the general public about the dangers of fentanyl. Over the past two years, we have promoted in-app educational videos and news content warning about the dangers of counterfeit pills and directing Snapchatters to resources from trusted experts. This is an ongoing effort, and has included:

  • In-app Content to Raise Awareness with Snapchatters: We have partnered with Song for Charlie, a leading fentanyl awareness organization, to run PSAs, and have done special series with Good Luck America, our original news show. You can see a new interview with Ed Ternan, the founder of Song for Charlie, released in honor of Fentanyl Awareness Day, here.

  • Dedicated In-app Education Portal: We also launched an in-app tool, Heads Up, that surfaces educational content from experts to Snapchatters if they try to search for drug-related content or a range of terms related to the fentanyl crisis. Our expert partners include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), Shatterproof, Truth Initiative, and the SAFE Project.

  • Working with the Ad Council: Several years ago, we began working with the Ad Council to develop an unprecedented national public awareness campaign about the dangers of fentanyl. The campaign now includes other leading tech platforms and is focused on reaching parents and teens where they are. 

Helping to keep the Snapchat community safe is our top priority. We will always have more work to do, and we look forward to continuing to work alongside parents, the government, other platforms, and experts to eradicate drug sales from our platform and raise awareness about the devastating impacts of the fentanyl crisis.

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