Facebook redirects users looking to buy opioids to crisis help line

Starting June 19, Facebook users looking to purchase opioids or seek addiction treatment will be redirected to information about a federal crisis help line — a move to curb illicit drug sales on its platform, STAT reports.

The move comes two weeks after the FDA sent warning letters to nine online networks, which operate 53 websites, to halt illegal marketing of unapproved versions of opioid medications and a week before an opioids summit hosted by the agency.

The summit aims to get Facebook and other tech companies, including Twitter and Google, to do more to curb the opioid epidemic.

Facebook's redirect feature is the result of months of work with a policy team focused on how the social media company can target the opioid crisis.

The feature is specific to Facebook, but was planned in consultation with the recovery advocacy group Facing Addiction and the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, according to Avra Siegel, who is leading Facebook's opioids policy initiative.

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