Fact: Opioids are part of a drug class that includes the illegal drug heroin as well as powerful pain relievers, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and many others.Drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., and opioid addiction is driving this epidemic.

The Federal Drug Administration wants tech and social media companies, including Facebook and Twitter, to play a role in overcoming the opioid epidemic. FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb gave a speech at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit on Thursday to discuss the issue, Engadget reported.

During his speech, Gottlieb said the FDA has found offers to purchase opioids and other drugs across the web including on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, Google, Yahoo and Bing. The purchasing process was easy, and the opioids were usually paid for using cryptocurrency and shipped using international mail.

“Internet firms simply aren’t taking practical steps to find and remove these illegal opioid listings,” Gottlieb said.

The FDA also announced plans to invite the tech executives from these companies to a summit to discuss potential solutions for the opioid crisis.

While a date for the summit hasn’t been set yet, the agency also plans to invite academics and advocacy groups. After this initial summit the FDA also plans to host a follow-up meeting a year later.

“We need to work together on shared solutions to address the problem of opioids marketing in the online space, and we need internet media companies to be our partners in this effort, taking on more social responsibility for implementing those solutions,” Gottlieb said.

Article By Caitlin Fairchild