The Dangerously Sweet Way Drug Dealers Are Targeting Kids On Social Media

Though TikTok can be a great resource for connecting with friends, sharing experiences, and learning new things, it's still a social media platform, meaning it comes with certain dangers. From data security to harmful, targeted ads, monitoring kids' use of social media has never been more important.

Right now, we are still waiting on the verdict of the whole "does TikTok steal your data and sell it to China?" debate as a class action lawsuit against the social media company rages on. The suit alleges that TikTok is responsible for stealing data from users — who are primarily minors — and selling said information.

Now, however, the concern has shifted to not only the cyber safety of kids, but also their real-life well-being. Parents and kids everywhere are now on their guard, watching for drug dealers who are targeting kids using the popular social media app. (Yes, really.) The result is a scary amount of accidental poisonings and emergency medical care for children who did not know the sweets they bought were laced with drugs.

Kids being targeted by drug dealers over social media is more dangerous than you think

According to the Mirror UK, marijuana dealers are using the friendly nature of sweets like brownies, cookies, and popular candy brands that are often used as edibles — a way to ingest marijuana within food — to target vulnerable groups like children. The dealers are marketing the sweets via apps like TikTok, offering low prices and quick delivery, minus the crucial information that the treats are actually laced with marijuana.

The Sun reports that dealers are heavily using both TikTok and Instagram, showing videos of popular sweets like Nerds or Haribo gummy bears and offering delivery to buyers within 24 hours. The dealers are also allegedly selling the sweets in bulk, meaning a greater risk of poisoning or overdose for unsuspecting kids ingesting more than one edible at a time.

While the epidemic alone is a huge safety concern regarding accidental ingestion of marijuana, there are other potentially harmful effects, as well. According to the National Center of Drug Abuse Statistics, "30% of those who use marijuana may have some degree of marijuana use disorder and 1 in 6 users who start using it before age 18 become addicted." And because marijuana is known as a gateway drug, accidentally ingesting it at a young age can lead children to experiment with it, or harder drugs, more over time.