Hashtags are great for searching through the endless posts on your favorite social media networks. You can quickly see all of the posts on a particular topic just by tapping on the hashtag. Instagram says that hashtags are being used for finding illegal drugs on its platform in addition to finding support for addiction and substance abuse. It will now start pointing users towards help for opioid or substance abuse when they search for certain hashtags on Instagram


Users will see a pop-up in the app when they search for relevant hashtags which will say “Can we help?” The pop-up will tell them that if they or someone they now is struggling with opioid or substance misuse, they can find ways to get free and confidential treatment referrals in addition to information about substance use, prevention, and recovery.

The pop-up will include links to support resources that Instagram has developed with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, and the Partnership for Drug Free Kids. The resources include advice for friends and family of people that have issues with substance abuse.

Instagram knows that while many users are relying on drug-related hashtags to search for support communities, others are misusing them to sell drugs as well. Instagram blocks or limits these hashtags but that has a negative impact as it prevents support communities from forming as well.

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