News Flash

MCAO Latest News

Posted on: August 30, 2021

The Connection Between Snapchat and Fentanyl

A photo comparing medications and counterfeit pills

You may not have seen it, but it's already here. Fentanyl is present and impacting communities across Arizona. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid prescribed to reduce extreme pain and is 100 times stronger than morphine. All types of opioids are addictive and carry a risk of overdose. However, due to its potency, fentanyl has a much higher risk of overdose and death than other opioids.

Illegal fentanyl, made in labs, is used to produce counterfeit pills that look identical to prescription medication. There is no way of knowing how much fentanyl is in each of these counterfeit pills, making all counterfeit pills extremely dangerous as just a tiny amount of fentanyl can be lethal. In Arizona, 42% of all overdoses involve fentanyl, and over the last two years, there has been an increase of 1610% in counterfeit pill seizures. Out of all the pills tested in the DEA laboratory, 26% contained a lethal dose of fentanyl.

Unfortunately, teens have become the target of these pills. Drug trafficking organizations create these pills in the shapes, colors, and sizes of those that appeal to teens and use social media to distribute them. As a result, teens may think they're getting a legitimate prescription medication such as Oxycodone, Adderall, or Xanax pills but instead are buying counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl and methamphetamine.

Like many things today, drug deals are no longer done on the streets and have switched to an online platform. While teens may use all forms of social media to purchase these pills, Snapchat is the platform that gets used the most as it provides anonymity, disappearing content, and doesn't allow third-party monitoring. For example, drug dealers can post anonymous stories with their "menu" and receive "orders" directly on the app, all of which will disappear, making it hard to track. In January of this year, Snapchat had 108 million users in the U.S, with 15 to 25-year-olds making up 48% of all users.

Teens have different reasons for using prescription pills. They may be using them out of curiosity, as a coping mechanism, because they believe it will help them with their studies, or they may have become dependent on an actual prescription. However, the fact remains that teens are misusing and becoming addicted to prescription pills. In many cases where a teen overdosed, more than one person is present, as teens may use these pills at parties or gatherings with friends. Teens must know the signs of an overdose and call 911 for help if they see or hear of someone taking a counterfeit prescription pill. Arizona's Good Samaritan Law protects those who call 911 to report an overdose, and they will not be arrested, charged, or prosecuted.

It's essential as kids head back to school that we talk to them about the risks of drug use and why they should never take a pill that hasn't been prescribed to them by their doctor. It's also just as important that parents develop a plan for their kid's social media use and help them develop healthy coping mechanisms.

If you're concerned about someone's opioid or fentanyl use, call the Arizona Opioid Assistance Referral line at 1-888-688-4222 for information about treatment and counseling options. Visit to find a Naloxone community distribution site near you.

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in MCAO Latest News


Defendant Indicted for Sexual Assault

Posted on: October 30, 2023

Vehicular Heatstroke is Animal Abuse

Posted on: July 10, 2023
Photo of the logo for World Elder Abuse Day

Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Posted on: June 15, 2023
Photo of a baby tiger.

Defendant Selling Wild Tiger Cub Indicted

Posted on: February 28, 2023

Thank You for Your Service

Posted on: February 1, 2023

No Charges for Officer Conduct

Posted on: January 30, 2023
Photos of MCAO employees

A Year in Review

Posted on: December 20, 2022

MCAO Wins Big at the 2022 APAAC Awards

Posted on: August 29, 2022
Website Graphics (1)

Help Deter Catalytic Converter Thefts

Posted on: August 22, 2022
A person reaching for a pair of car keys after they've been drinking.

Celebrate Safely this Fourth of July

Posted on: June 28, 2022
Tori posing in front of a background and flags

K-9 Victim Advocate Tori is Retiring!

Posted on: April 26, 2022

MCAO’s Citizens Academy Is Back!

Posted on: March 28, 2022

Meet our New Community Affairs Coordinator

Posted on: February 21, 2022

Stay Aware of Teen Dating Violence

Posted on: February 14, 2022
New employee meeting other employees at new job

Start the Year with a New Career

Posted on: January 19, 2022

MCAO Year in Review

Posted on: December 21, 2021
An image of caution tape and police sirens

Year in Review: 2021 Crime Trends

Posted on: December 14, 2021
A family gathering around their holiday decorations

Holiday Home and Travel Safety

Posted on: December 6, 2021
Woman shopping online for holiday gifts

Get Gifts, Not Scams this Holiday Season

Posted on: November 22, 2021
Phone Scams

How to Avoid Scams Calls

Posted on: November 15, 2021
Photo of soldier holding an American flag

Honoring All Who Serve on Veterans Day

Posted on: November 10, 2021
Photo of the twin towers

20th Anniversary of September 11th

Posted on: September 10, 2021
Image of girl with the text

Talk to Teens About Substance Abuse

Posted on: August 23, 2021
A man stealing a wallet out of someone's backpack

Practice Personal Safety in Layers

Posted on: August 16, 2021
Two students reading over documents

Internship Opportunities at MCAO

Posted on: July 29, 2021
Someone looking into a parked vehicle

Keep Your Vehicle Safe this Summer

Posted on: July 5, 2021
Utility Scams

Summer Safety Series: Utility Scams

Posted on: June 21, 2021
Three Children Holding Hands

National Missing Children's Day

Posted on: May 24, 2021
Student wearing graduation cap and gown

A Career in Public Service

Posted on: May 4, 2021
Aisha Robertson, Legal Support Assistant, MCAO Victim Services Division

Employee Spotlight: Aisha Robertson

Posted on: April 26, 2021
Victim Advocates

The Importance of Victims’ Rights

Posted on: April 22, 2021
Lady Justice

Understanding Victims’ Rights

Posted on: April 19, 2021
Protect Your Vehicle From Theft

Spring Break Tips: Prevent Car Theft

Posted on: March 15, 2021
Report Graffiti

Report Graffiti in Your Community

Posted on: February 22, 2021
Protect Your Identity

Have You Checked Your Credit Report?

Posted on: March 29, 2021
Online Dating

Swipe Safe with These Online Dating Tips

Posted on: February 8, 2021
Woman Cleaning Counter

Labor Trafficking amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted on: January 25, 2021
MCAO Building

A Year in Review at MCAO

Posted on: December 23, 2020
Crime Scene Tape

2020 Snapshot: Crime Across the Valley

Posted on: December 7, 2020
Man placing Credit Card info into Laptop

Shop Safely Online this Holiday Season

Posted on: November 30, 2020
Female domestic violence victim packing suitcase with clothing

Make a Safety Plan to Get Out

Posted on: October 19, 2020
Teen Girl Texting

Remind Teens to Think Before They Send

Posted on: September 28, 2020
County Attorney Allister Adel

Body-Worn Camera Request

Posted on: September 23, 2020
Online Bully

Online Bullying During COVID

Posted on: September 21, 2020
Animal Cruelty

Report Animal Abuse to Law Enforcement

Posted on: September 14, 2020
Labor Day DUI Reminder

Celebrate Labor Day Weekend Safely

Posted on: September 3, 2020
Pills on table

International Overdose Awareness Day

Posted on: August 31, 2020

COVID-19 Contact Tracing Scams

Posted on: July 23, 2020
Two Girls on Laptops

What are the risks of livestreaming?

Posted on: July 13, 2020

What is a Prosecutor?

Posted on: June 25, 2020
Man Vaping

Vaping Warning Signs for Parents

Posted on: June 18, 2020

Help Prevent Opioid Abuse at Home

Posted on: June 16, 2020
Sunset Over Canal and Homes

Keep Your Home Safe this Summer

Posted on: June 4, 2020
Looking through a car windshield at night. The lights are blurred.

Don’t Graduate into a DUI

Posted on: May 19, 2020
Happy Mothers Day

Honoring MCAO Moms

Posted on: May 8, 2020
COVID-19 Stimulus Check Scams

Stimulus Check Scams

Posted on: May 7, 2020
National Law Day 2020

It’s National Law Day

Posted on: May 1, 2020
Angela Andrews

Collaboration is Key

Posted on: April 30, 2020
Inspiration in the Face of Adversity

Inspiration in the Face of Adversity

Posted on: April 24, 2020
Heather Kirka

Charging Ahead and Working Together

Posted on: April 23, 2020
Census form on flag

We All Benefit When We Respond

Posted on: April 16, 2020
Brittany Hogard

Keeping the Wheels of Justice Rolling

Posted on: April 15, 2020
Person typing on computer keyboard

Be a Smart Online User

Posted on: April 13, 2020
Avoid Coronavirus Scams

COVID-19 Scam Awareness

Posted on: March 30, 2020

Community Outreach Highlights

Posted on: March 1, 2020
Allister with Female Staff

Celebrating Women’s History Month

Posted on: March 1, 2020
2020 Census Advertisement - Shape your Future, Start Here

YOU Count: Fill Out the Census Today

Posted on: March 1, 2020

Update On Petersen Investigation

Posted on: December 11, 2019

MCAO Honors Our Veterans

Posted on: November 8, 2019

Dion Earl Found Guilty on All Charges

Posted on: August 22, 2019

MCAO Launches Community Grants Webpage

Posted on: August 12, 2016

Update on Green Acre Dog Boarding Deaths

Posted on: September 22, 2014

National Geographic - Taboo

Posted on: August 31, 2012