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NHS leaders call on Instagram to crack down on promotion of ‘dangerous’ drugs UK News

Instagram is under pressure from senior NHS officials to crack down on influencers using the social media platform to promote and sell a ‘dangerous’, unlicensed drug.

Senior NHS officials in England have written to Instagram manager Adam Mosseri urging the company to shut down all accounts and content that promotes or attempts to sell Apetamin.

A BBC investigation found that Apetamin was marketed by social media influencers as a way to achieve an extreme hourglass and curvy figure, but it can lead to side effects, including fatigue, jaundice, and shortness. hepatic.

The letter, from NHS England National Director of Mental Health Claire Murdoch and National Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis, alongside Kitty Wallace of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation, said the drug could cause “harm serious ”for whoever takes it.

According to the PA News Agency, they said, “We are writing about the unauthorized and dangerous drug Apetamin, which is being promoted on your platform and could cause serious harm to anyone who takes it.

“This substance is consumed as a supplement, to promote a specific image and body shape, deemed desirable by some high-level influencers and primarily intended for young women and girls.

“On behalf of NHS patients, staff and people with body dysmorphic disorders and other mental health issues, as well as their families, we are concerned about the effects on physical and mental health of promoting this drug and we urge you to due diligence to your customers and crack down on this dangerous content now. ”

He added: “Unfortunately, many accounts are still active, and when such activity was reported – as per Instagram’s advice – no action was taken, with a response from customer service on your platform. claiming that the commercial sale of Apetamin via Instagram accounts was not carried out. break your community’s rules. ”

NHS leaders are calling for an urgent update on steps Instagram is taking to shut down these accounts and confirm that any content selling or promoting Apetamin will be removed.

They also asked the social media platform to confirm how many accounts and posts have been deleted in connection with Apetamin and what steps are currently being taken to protect users from content “likely or likely to trigger or exacerbate bodily dysmorphic disorder, eating disorders and other conditions ”.

A spokesperson for the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation said: “As a small charity, we are increasingly overwhelmed by the number of people contacting us for more support with debilitating body dysmorphic disorder.

“While social media is not the cause of BDD, it has a huge role to play in exacerbating the symptoms.

“We urge companies, like Instagram, to take the welfare of their vulnerable users seriously.

“Promoting Apetamin on social media can be very damaging in terms of physical and mental health, and therefore should not go unchallenged.”

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This notice was published: 2021-05-05 06:30:00