Lawmakers seek to require social media platforms to report illegal drug sales

There’s a new push in Congress to crack down on drug sales over social media — a trend that some say is making substances more easily accessible to kids.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar joined Rep. Angie Craig in Hastings on Tuesday to promote legislation aimed at preventing drug trafficking over platforms such as Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram.

Klobuchar says the opioid drug landscape has changed. Prescription drugs used to make up the majority of opioid overdoses, but now 92% of opioid deaths in Minnesota are attributed to fentanyl.

The Drug Enforcement Agency says one-third of all fentanyl cases investigated over the past five months had direct ties to social media websites.

“You can’t fix this unless you also fix what’s going on on social media because that is a source of where a lot of the kids, particularly, are getting these drugs,” Klobuchar said.

A bill would require social media companies to monitor and report illegal drug sales on their sites to law enforcement. The bill is named in part for Devin Norring of Hastings.

Devin’s mother, Bridgette Norring, said when her 19-year-old son’s doctor’s appointments were canceled due to the pandemic, he turned to social media looking for Percocet to treat migraines. The pills he got were laced with fentanyl. Devin Norring died in April 2020.

“After Devin died, we were in shock,” Bridgette Norring said. “We never thought this could happen to our family. We had had countless conversations with our kid about social media. We had conversations about the drug, but we didn’t know this drug was out there.”

Craig’s version of the bill in the House has bipartisan support. Klobuchar introduced the bill in the Senate, and it passed out of the Judiciary Committee last year.