Informed Families Catalyst

Teens, Fentanyl, and Social Media—A Lethal Combination

Posted by Informed Families on May 20, 2023 at 4:36 PM

On Valentine’s Day, 2021, 19-year-old Logan Rachwal had an argument with his girlfriend and popped what he thought was Percocet, a painkiller that he bought on the social media app Snapchat. Logan fell asleep and never woke up.


It turned out to be a fake pill laced with fentanyl, the potentially deadly synthetic opioid used to treat pain. It is currently the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 49, according to a Washington Post analysis.

“If you had told me 10, 20 years ago that my son would die from drugs, I would have said, ‘Oh no, not my kid,’ ” Logan’s mother Erin told The Post’s, Dr. Leana Wen. They went to church and raised their sons “with a good moral compass,” she added.

The Social Media Effect

Erin, a licensed clinical therapist, blames social media for her son’s death. ( 

“As a clinician and as a mom, I can tell you with at least 90 percent certainty that Logan would still be here if there wasn’t social media,” she told Wen and called for more regulation of social media companies.

Not only did social media worsen his mental health, she said, but these platforms are a one-stop marketplace for illicit drugs. 

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) estimates that 60 percent of illegal pills contain a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl. Many of these are being sold on social media sites such as Snapchat and TikTok, DEA head Anne Milgram told The Post.

“The drug dealer isn’t standing on a street corner anymore. It’s sitting in a pocket on your phone,” she said.

Other Precautions/Prescriptions

She also wants parents to warn kids from an early age that they should never take pills unless they come from a doctor.

“We teach kids not to cross the street without looking both ways,” she told Wen. “We also have to teach them don’t put things into your body unless you know what it is.”

In addition to the drug issue, NPR reports there’s mounting evidence that social media can exacerbate and even cause problems among teens with depression, anxiety, and loneliness. Half of parents with children under 18 report that social media has harmed their children’s mental health.

So this month the American Psychological Association (APA) issued new guidelines ( urging parents to limit the content their kids are exposed to on social media. The recommendations include monitoring teens’ feeds, and training them in social media literacy. 

Topics: marijuana, brain development, social media, drugs, opioids, myths, fentanyl

About Us

We teach people how to say no to drugs and how to make healthy choices. To reduce the demand for drugs, Informed Families has focused its efforts on educating and mobilizing the community, parents and young people in order to change attitudes. In this way we counteract the pressures in society that condone and promote drug and alcohol use and abuse. The organization educates thousands of families annually about how to stay drug and alcohol free through networking and a variety of programs and services .

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