Arizona family sues Snapchat after 17-year-old son died from fentanyl overdose

A Mesa family is suing Snapchat, after their son died from an accidental fentanyl overdose.

In the lawsuit, lawyers for Zach Plunk's family argue Snapchat is acting as a go-to platform for drug dealers, and want to hold the company accountable.

"This is a tragic story of a 17-year-old boy who made a bad decision, but not one that should have ended his life," said Matthew Bergman with the Social Media Victims Law Center. Bergman is representing Plunk's family in the lawsuit.

Two years ago, Plunk was a happy teen, and a football player at Hamilton High School. Following an injury, Plunk's family said he purchased what he believed to be percocet on Snapchat.

Devastatingly, authorities say it turned out to be a counterfeit laced with fentanyl, which killed the teen.

"It was a tragedy that never had to happen," said Bergman. "We're simply saying that Snapchat is responsible for what happens on its platform, when it knows full well that it's being used to facilitate drug deals."

It is alleged, in the lawsuit, that Snapchat's features, like self-destructing texts and expiring posts, "enable dealers to complete transactions without a trace, knowing that not even law enforcement can access certain records."

A spokesperson for Snapchat vehemently denies the allegations. While the company cannot comment on current litigation, they did send us a statement about the company's practices.

In the statement, officials said, in part, that they "proactively find and shut down drug dealers’ accounts," while employees "block search results for drug-related terms, instead redirecting Snapchatters to resources from experts about the dangers of fentanyl."

Snapchat officials also say they seek advice from both law enforcement and experts in counter-narcotics, as they continue to add new protections.

Bergman, however, insists that more should be done.

"This is not an accident. This is not a coincidence. This is a design feature of the product," said Bergman. "They need to be held accountable."

Bergman says he now represents 15 families nationwide whose teens died after buying fentanyl-laced drugs on Snapchat.

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