Why Substance Use is Trending on TikTok: Adolescent Addiction and Social Media
Substance use is a major problem in the United States and threatens people of all ages. Addiction is the dreaded outcome with increasing health, societal, and economic consequences, including rising numbers of fatalities. Social media platforms expand exposure to all varieties of trends, both helpful and harmful, and particularly target vulnerable younger ages. TikTok is a worldwide social networking service that allows users to create and post short videos, some of which dabble in substance use. Many people are familiar with recent TikTok “challenges” involving common household substances such as nutmeg, cinnamon, and diphenhydramine. Diphenhydramine has reportedly led to the death of at least one teenager. It is important for toxicologists, clinicians, and providers to understand the intersection and relation of substance use, addiction, and social media, especially among adolescents. This webinar will review the neurobiology of addiction, analyze recent trends in adolescent addiction, and discuss the impact of social media on adolescent substance use. This webinar will highlight how commonly used social media platforms may exacerbate substance use and addiction among vulnerable populations.
Jennifer A. Ross, MD, MPH
Pediatric Addiction Medicine Fellow
Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction Program
Boston Children’s Hospital
Christine Murphy, MD