Are People Buying Drugs Using TikTok?

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TikTok is a social media video app launched in 2016 by the Chinese technology company Byte Dance. TikTok is about videos- very short mobile videos, to be precise. Still, TikTok allows users’ videos to be up to 10 minutes long, although under 30-second videos are most popular. Users also can stream live videos and interact with other followers in real-time.

The live streaming on Tik Tok is representative of the communities on Tik Tok, which are good and some not so good. There is a common misconception that TikTok is only used to upload and view offbeat videos. The evidence, however, indicates that drug deals take place on Tik Tok.

TikTok is used by 48 percent of adults in the U.S. between 18 and 29. Nearly half of all people who engage with this platform are teens and young adults. (Pew Research, 2021)

How Tik Tok Contributes to Drug Dealing & Drug Abuse

TikTok does not monitor the video content closely enough to prevent drug dealers and drug cartel lifestyle promoters from influencing younger people. The drug cartel lifestyle boasts luxury cars, cash, and homes purchased from profits by illegal drug deals.

The hashtags #CartelTikTok and #drugcartel are extremely popular. The concern is that they have millions of views and followers. A young teen can enter the hashtag for these videos and be exposed to drug manufacturing, money laundering, guns, drug use, and drugs for sale.

No longer confined to street corners and the dark web, criminal drug networks are now in every home and school in America because of the internet apps on our smartphones. (DEA 2022)

How Do Drug Dealers Sell Drugs On Tik Tok?

Using digital language for social media, dealers and addicts look for emojis, hashtags, and live video feeds that generate user or group tagging to enable cross-referencing content by topic or theme. Drug dealers advertise drugs that people recognize through corresponding hashtags or emojis.

When a person logs onto Tik Tok, they will see a personalized feed based on what they ‘like’ ‘follow’ and hashtag. Once they know a drug emoji or hashtag of a drug they want, they direct message the poster. In most cases, people Venmo, PayPal, or Zelle their money to the dealer after they’ve communicated. To receive the drugs, either they are mailed or delivered to the purchaser.

Is Tik Tok Responsible for Drug Dealing Prevention

TikTok is responsible for providing a platform free of crime. Still, like other businesses or social media apps, they cannot control every user. Tik Tok like all other social media companies provides community guidelines that specify no criminal activity or illegal drug sales.

According to a company statement offered by TikTok regarding community guidelines, they say the following:

We do not allow the depiction, promotion, or trade of drugs or other controlled substances. The trade of tobacco and alcohol products is also prohibited on the platform. Do not post, upload, stream, or share:

  • Content that depicts or promotes drugs, drug consumption, or encourages others to make, use, or trade drugs or other controlled substances
  • Content that offers the purchase, sale, trade, or solicitation of drugs or other controlled substances, alcohol, or tobacco products
  • Content that provides information on how to buy illegal or controlled substances
  • Content that depicts or promotes the misuse of legal substances, or instruction on how to make homemade substances, in an effort to become intoxicated.

Get Help for Drug Addiction On Your Phone

Our call center is open 24 hours a day, and we provide admission to rehab centers over the phone. Do not let buying drugs on Tik Tok or anywhere else be the only way you or a loved one copes.

We provide expert behavioral therapy and personalized substance abuse treatment for all drug types and severity. Drugs only get more dangerous and unpredictable when buying them online. We are connected to telehealth-based online counseling and drug treatment groups happening now.

Medically Reviewed: December 13, 2022

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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