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DEA administrator says social media companies not complying to address fentanyl crisis

DEA Administrator Anne Milgram speaks at a press conference with Attorney General Merrick Garland announcing arrests and disruptions of the fentanyl precursor chemical supply chain on Friday, June 23, 2023 in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Anne Milgram said Sunday that various social media companies are not complying with them to help address the ongoing fentanyl crisis. 

During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Milgram told moderator Chuck Todd that social media has played a vital part in the sale of fentanyl. Milgram noted how drug cartels use the various platforms to market their material to people. 

“Social media is also a vital part of the conversation. It is what I call the last mile. Because what the cartels need — they’re selling the deadliest poison we’ve ever seen — they need that to get —,” Milgram told Todd.

“They need a platform to advertise?” Todd asked. 

“Exactly,” Milgram replied. “To be able to expand and sell more, they need to be able to reach people at massive rates. And that’s what social media’s doing.” 

Milgram also said that her agency has had conservations with social media companies on these issues, saying that those platforms will have to buckle down and enforce their rules if they see illegal activity on their sites. 

“We’ve been in conversations with the social media companies. The Deputy Attorney General convened all of us in April of this year and made it very clear, number one, that the companies have to comply with their own terms of service, which say, ‘This is illegal. You cannot be selling fake pills. You cannot be selling drugs on social media websites,’” Milgram told Todd. 

“Number two, law enforcement needs to get information from the social media companies. We have not, until recently, gotten nearly as much cooperation as we need,” she added. “And finally, this is an outright emergency. So they need to be doing absolutely everything they can to get the deadly drugs off their platform.”

Milgram’s remarks come months after she testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about how multiple cartels use social media sites like Snapchat to sell their drugs to young users on the platform. 

 “The cartels understand that if someone dies from taking their deadly fentanyl, that there are 100 million other users on Snapchat that they can sell their drugs to,” Milgram said at the hearing. She also named the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels as the perpetrators of the fentanyl crisis in the country.