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Medicinal and health products are never “one size fits all.” People can’t know for sure the authenticity and possible allergens of a product unless they see and test it themselves: it’s a game of roulette and risk. Enforcing pre-established laws will mitigate the risk of contamination and falsification of internationally shipped goods, especially health products. 

An anonymous woman was found dead a month ago after applying a medicinal cream bought from a seller on Facebook Marketplace. The cream, called Cao Bôi Trĩ Cây Thầu Dầu, fatally poisoned her. Upon sampling the cream, scientists uncovered 39,000 parts per million of lead, which, when compared to the permitted amount of 10 parts per million in cosmetic products, is toxic. In Facebook’s e-commerce policies, the company states, “Listings may not promote medical and healthcare products and services, including medical devices, or smoking cessation products.” Sellers are falling through the cracks of oversight and policies must be emphasized to ensure this problem stops in its tracks. 

Not only is this illegal on Facebook, but even on other sites. Young adult fentanyl overdoses have been on the rise, alarming researchers and physicians worldwide. It is no joke that mental health is slamming young ones, especially those who lived to tell stories of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, many growing up in today’s day and age are turning to drugs and alcohol to cope with their problems. Easy access to illegal drug markets via social media sites is certainly not helping these already alarming patterns. This month, a grieving mother is suing Snapchat for permitting drug sales, which ultimately led to the death of her 20-year-old daughter in March 2021. Her daughter, Avianna Cavanaugh, was under the impression she was ingesting Xanax, a drug popular amongst students because of its stimulating aspects. After a toxicology report, it was found to contain fentanyl, a drug that has racked up multiple deaths. 

Fentanyl has made a name for itself with its contamination in tons of counterfeit medications. According to Snapchat’s policies, users “Don’t use Snapchat to send or post content that’s illegal in [their] jurisdiction, or for any illegal activity. This includes promoting, facilitating, or participating in criminal activity, such as buying, selling, exchanging, or facilitating sales of illegal or regulated drugs.” Policies such as this one must be enforced more strictly to ensure sellers aren’t getting away with killing innocent people just to make a quick buck. 

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires products that are being imported into the United States to abide by the FDA’s rules and regulations. However, this aspect often goes unnoticed, especially recently. It’s not a matter of where consumers are getting these substances but rather a question of why it is circulating in markets in the first place. For example, there has been a trend of abusing Ozempic, a drug popularized due to its weight loss-inducing aspects. These drugs are getting into the hands of those who aren’t prescribed them, ultimately leading to substance abuse and deaths. Innocent consumers are dropping like flies, and commerce must be strictly regulated to ensure pills aren’t getting into the wrong hands. Distributors are urged to either hire more employees to regulate commerce or enforce new, stricter policies to guarantee that pills aren’t given to the wrong people. 

Purchasing health and wellness products is dangerous if the consumer hasn’t researched. With the growth in popularity of certain drugs and creams, many turn to cheaper alternatives and hope to reap similar, if not the same, benefits. However, this is a dangerous risk consumers are taking, considering the permanent damage that can be done when playing roulette with your organs and bodily functions. In a perfect world where products can be strictly regulated with no indirect or direct negative effects, people will be protected from their own curiosity and irrational decision-making.