The NIDA Blog Team
January 22 2015

Do you like the summertime feel of Valencia, the creamy black and white texture of Willow, or the soft pastels of Nashville?  If you’re one of the 76% of teens are on Instagram, it’s likely you have a few “go-to” photo filters you use whenever you post. 

There are more teens on Instagram than any other social media platform—and many follow their favorite actors, singers, and athletes. With celebrities racking up millions of followers, it’s a bummer that some of them use their reach and power to promote their use of alcohol and drugs.

Wiz Khalifa, Diplo, Rihanna, and Nicki Minaj have posted hundreds of pictures with drugs and alcohol. Recently, Miley Cyrus took a more shady approach posting a photo of herself wearing a t-shirt that says “In Love With the Coco,” which, by many accounts, is a reference to the O.T. Genesis song “Coco” about cocaine. More than 7% of Snoop Dogg’s Instagram photos involve drugs or alcohol.

It’s not just celebrities, right?  A quick search for the hashtag #marijuana reveals almost 2.8 million posts for just one drug-related hashtag.

Is Instagram a Marketplace for Drugs?

Beyond pictures of people doing drugs, many drug dealers are turning to Instagram to advertise their products. They post piles of pills and baggies full of weed with the same artistic filters applied to the pics of you and your besties. Though Instagram’s community rules prohibit sharing images that break the law, new drug-related hashtags and new user accounts pop up every day.

Instagram Life ≠ Real Life

We all know Instagram shows a color-corrected, filtered and cropped version of life. 

The reality is, drugs are not as popular with teens as social media might lead you to believe.  Most teens don’t use drugs.  Period.  Less than 24% of 12th graders, 18.5% of 10th graders, and 8% of 8th graders have used illicit drugs in the past month. Which, of course, we hope the downward trend continues and the shady business of posting about using or selling drug becomes yesterday’s news.

Tell us in the comments: How do you feel when you see drugs on social media? 

-->