Instagram wants to help those caught up in opioid abuse

September 14, 2018 18:04
Under a new feature rolled out for its US users, Instagram will issue pop-up alerts offering guidance on substance abuse disorders cure if a person searches for hashtags related to opioids and other illegal drugs. Photo: Reuters

Photo and video sharing social network service Instagram is pitching in to help people who may be struggling amid the opioid crisis in the United States.

The online platform has launched a feature in the app that will throw up alerts for users who may be battling substance abuse or serious mental health issues.

If one searches for hashtags related to opioids and other illegal drugs, the app will pop up an alert, informing the user that the person can receive support.

If the user chooses to obtain support, the alert will direct him or her to a new section in the Help Centre of the Instagram website, which offers links to free treatment referrals, along with other information about substance abuse and recovery.

The number of hashtags that will be covered by this new function remains unknown. However, the company indicated that more will be added over time.

Instagram users in Hong Kong may have to wait a little longer, as this feature is currently only available in the United States.

The new feature will be launched to users in the rest of the world "soon", Mashable quoted the social media platform as saying.

In 2016, Instagram implemented a similar feature for users who look for hashtags pertaining to self-injury and eating disorders.

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