Emoji Drug Code | How Teens Use Social Media For Illicit Drug Deals
Many teenagers buy and sell illegal drugs through social media apps. During these drug deals, they often use emojis to represent drug names and other details. Here’s what parents, caregivers, and educators should know about this emoji drug code.
What Is The Emoji Drug Code?
As part of its #OnePillCanKill initiative, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently released an emoji drug code reference guide.
This guide is a representative sample of the most common emojis used in drug deals on social media and e-commerce platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook.
How Teens Use Emoji Drug Codes
Some of the emojis used in code represent drug names. Others indicate the quality and quantity of the drugs being sold.
For example, teens often use the Maple Leaf emoji 🍁 as the universal symbol for drugs. They also use other emojis to reference specific substances, including:
According to law enforcement officials, the most popular emojis for illegal drugs include:
- Marijuana – 🌿, 🍁, 🎄, 🍃, 🥦, 🍀, 🌴,💨, 🔥 (Wind, Fire, Palm Tree, Evergreen Tree, Shocked Face, Four Leaf Clover)
- Cocaine – ❄️, 🥥,🤧, 🔑,⛄,🎱, 🐡 (Snowflake, Snowman, Cloud with Snow, Diamond, Eightball, Key, Blowfish, Face with Tongue Out)
- Heroin – 💉,🐉,🐎 ,🎯,🤎 (Brown Heart, Dragon)
- Methamphetamine – 💎, 🏔, 💙, 🧪 (Crystal Ball, Blue Heart, Diamond, Test Tube)
- MDMA – 🍬, ❤⚡,🤯, ❌, 🍬, ❤️ (Red Heart, Lightning, Cross Mark, Pill, Candy)
- Magic Mushrooms – 🍄 (Mushroom)
Many of these emojis relate to the drugs’ street names.
For example, cocaine is often called “snow,” which explains the Snowflake, Snowman, and Cloud with Snow emojis. Similarly, methamphetamine is often called “crystal,” which explains the Crystal Ball emoji.
Also, the Dragon emoji comes from the phrase “chasing the dragon,” which means “smoking heroin.”
Other emojis hint at the drugs’ effects. For instance, MDMA can cause emotional warmth and increased empathy, which is why it’s represented with a Red Heart. Also, cocaine can make you feel excited, energetic, and reckless. These effects are represented by the Face with Tongue Out emoji.
Fake Prescription Drugs
Fake prescription drugs are pills that resemble popular medications such as oxycodone and Xanax. They’re often laced with much stronger drugs, including methamphetamine and fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic (human-made) opioid that’s up to 50 times more powerful than heroin.
Each day, over 150 people die from drug overdoses involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
The most popular emojis for fake prescription pills include:
- Adderall – 💊 (Pill, A-Train)
- Oxycodone Or Percocet – 💊 , 🅿️, 🔵 , 🍌 (Pill, Blue Circle, Banana, P Button)
- Xanax – 🚌,🍫, 💊 (Pill, Chocolate Bar, Bus)
As with illegal drugs, emojis for fake prescription drugs often come from their street names. For example, Xanax pills are typically called “bars” or “school buses,” and oxycodone pills are often called “blues.”
Many teens reference cough syrup using the 🍼,🍇 ,💜 Grapes, Purple Heart, and Baby Bottle emojis.
Most cough syrup sold on social media contains the opioid codeine. Some teens mix codeine cough syrup with soda and hard candy to make a psychoactive substance called lean, purple drank, or sizzurp.
Drug Quality & Quantity
When advertising their products, many drug dealers use the following emojis:
- 🤑 Money-Mouth Face
- 👑 Crown
- 💰 Money Bag
- 💵 Dollar Bills
- 🔌 Plug
These emojis signal that the dealer has drugs for sale.
To describe drugs with a high potency, dealers may use the 🚀 Rocket Ship, Bomb, or Explosion emojis. Similarly, they may describe a large batch of drugs using the 🍪 Cookie emoji.
Some dealers also use emojis to discuss delivery and shipping. If they are willing to deliver the drugs, they may use the Cellphone, Car, or ⛽ Gas Pump emojis. If they are willing to ship the drugs, they may use the Shipping Box or Parachute emojis.
How To Keep Teens Safe
To protect your teen from the dangers of drug abuse, keep an eye on their online activity. If you notice emoji drug code or other suspicious behavior, talk to them. Try not to judge or attack them. Instead, calmly explain that you are concerned about their health.
Highlight The Risks Of Illegal Drugs
Next, highlight the risks of buying drugs illegally. Remind your teen that street drugs are often laced with fentanyl, which can be lethal even in extremely small doses.
Understand Your Child’s Interest In Drugs
You should also try to understand what led your child to use drugs in the first place.
Some teens use drugs due to curiosity or peer pressure, while others use them in an attempt to self-medicate depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns. The more you learn about your child’s drug use, the more you can help them.
Stay Updated On Current Emoji Drug Codes
Also, note that emoji drug codes can change. Try to stay updated on current codes and other trends relating to online drug deals. You can get this information from the DEA and local drug enforcement agencies.
Model Responsible Substance Use
Finally, remember that you can influence your teen to make healthy decisions by modeling responsible drug use. In other words, never use illegal drugs, and only use prescription drugs exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
If you think your teen is struggling with drug abuse or addiction, please reach out to an Ark Behavioral Health specialist. Our compassionate healthcare providers offer medical detox, behavioral therapy, and other evidence-based treatments to help your child thrive.
Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
©2021 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
This page does not provide medical advice.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Fentanyl Facts
Drug Enforcement Administration - EMOJI DRUG CODE | DECODED
Drug Enforcement Administration - Social Media: Understanding a Teen's World
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