Josh Chandler | January 20, 2022

19 Drug-Related Emojis Every Parent Should Know

How Teens Talk About Drugs Online

With social media becoming a hot spot for illicit drug sales, which are often laced with deadly substances like fentanyl, there are several drug-related emojis every parent should know to help protect their kids from the dangers they face online. We have created a guide for drug-related emojis kids may use when buying drugs on social media.

It has never been easier for teens to buy drugs online from people they meet on social media. While moderation of popular platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, and other social media platforms tries to prevent these sales, drug dealers are still openly selling drugs that are often counterfeit prescription drugs laced with fentanyl. It is leading to a massive surge in drug overdose deaths, which saw a 30% increase in fatalities in 2020

The primary way these dealers advertise and communicate with the youth on social media is through emojis that parents could not understand what they mean. You can take several steps to help your child avoid the dangers of fake pills laced with fentanyl, which we will discuss below.

Whether through algorithms designed to pick up keywords or through the fear of being caught trying to buy drugs from a dealer, teens use emojis as a code to talk about all types of drugs, their interest in buying, and being high. Emojis are typically harmless and widely used by teens, but certain ones have become a way of buying drugs on social media.

It can take just a string of two or three emojis to request to buy illicit drugs such as fake Xanax, Oxycodone, and Percocet, among others. With just a few emojis, they can indicate to a potential dealer that they want a prescription drug delivered to them. 

While teens will continue to use emojis to express their thoughts and emotions instead of writing out words, every parent should know that being aware of drug-related emojis will empower you to help your teen before the worst happens.

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19 Drug-Related Emojis and What They Mean

Buying drugs on social media is done by using a few emojis that in some way reflect slang or something related to buying or using drugs. While these emojis can indicate your child is buying drugs on social media, it’s not definitive, and establishing open communication with your kids and educating them on the dangers is most important. 

The drug-related emojis every parent should know, covering prescription and other drugs, include the following:

  •  ❄, 💎, 🏔 – Crystal meth
  • 🔑, ⛄, 🎱, 🥥, 🤧 – Cocaine
  • 🐎, 🎯, 💉, 🐉 – Heroin
  • 💊 – Prescription or other illicit drugs
  • 🔌 – Refers to someone looking for drugs or a “hookup”
  • 🥧 – A lot of drugs
  • 🚀, ⛽ – Often refers to someone being high or “gassed”
  • 🚬, 💨 – Refers to vaping or smoking weed or other drugs

Another aspect of drug-related emojis every parent should know is the people they are buying from. Generally, teens on social media don’t purchase drugs from complete strangers but rather through someone their friends suggested or a friend of a friend. They often follow a drug dealer’s profile, and then the drug dealer will start sending messages filled with emojis to advertise their illicit drugs.

Fentanyl-Laced Drugs and The Dangers of Buying Drugs Online

The actual danger of teens buying drugs online is the rise of fentanyl-laced drugs. Since fentanyl came onto the recreational drug scene, it has been added to all types of drugs, even marijuana. Fentanyl is a potent opioid estimated to be around 50 times more powerful than heroin on average. However, it is produced cheaply, and just a small amount can add extreme potency to any drug. 

Today, drug dealers are adding fentanyl to their products ranging from counterfeit prescription drugs, heroin, meth, and cocaine to ecstasy, marijuana, and other illicit designer drugs. It essentially means that any drug bought through social media or drug dealers may result in a fatal overdose from the opioid fentanyl.

Law enforcement, the CDC, and other agencies assessing the situation have reported over 100,000 overdose deaths from April 2020 to April 2021. Experts agree that because drug dealers have moved from dark alleyways to social media allowing teens to buy drugs from the comfort of their bedroom is a significant cause of the sudden increase of deaths. 

One of the other risks of buying drugs on social media is that kids are buying from people they know or through friends of friends. It creates a false sense of trust that who they are buying from will be safe, but the truth is that the dealers often have no clue what’s inside of their drugs. Fentanyl requires precise measurements that cannot be done with the naked eye.

Drug dealers are often unknowingly selling drugs on social media that can kill someone. It has never been more important to open a conversation about buying drugs on social media and the many dangers involved with the trend of fentanyl-laced drugs. Any drug, even ones that are usually safe, such as marijuana, is now being laced with fentanyl, leading to drug overdose deaths among the youth. 

With no legitimate oversight by the drug dealers and their suppliers, illicit drugs from untrusted sources should be avoided at all costs because every pill or dose can be the last. 

How to Talk to Your Kids About Fentanyl and Other Drugs

Providing your kids with the information they need to better understand the current crisis with fentanyl-laced drugs is the best form of defense against drug overdose deaths and substance use disorder (addiction). 

Firstly, understand that they aren’t buying illicit drugs from total strangers but rather friends or friends of friends. Painting a picture of strangers selling drugs online might make your kids believe that buying from someone they know to some degree is okay. These are people that your kids trust.

The key is to create a safe space to talk about sensitive topics like buying drugs on social media. The discussions shouldn’t be limited to just drugs but also their interests such as music taste, games they enjoy playing, and other interests. Showing that you are interested in their life by enjoying their music with them or trying a game with them can help make the safe space that allows you to delve into topics such as whether their friends have bought illicit drugs online and if they’ve been thinking about doing the same. 

The safe space environment should be one where you don’t force your opinion onto them but rather approach it as an ally and not something to be overcome. It’s essential to keep your emotions under control because while you see illicit drugs as a severe threat, your kids may not yet, and if you approach it with guns blazing, you may get an undesirable response.

Some of the critical facts that you will want to convey and educate your teens on include the rise of fentanyl-laced drugs added to every type of drug today. Estimates based on seized fake pills say that two in every five illicit pills contain enough fentanyl to kill an adult. Furthermore, the counterfeit pills available on Snapchat and other social media are fake pills made to look exactly like real prescription drugs. A natural prescription Xanax pill, for example, is not going to lead to death with just one pill, but the same is not valid for fake drugs where the ingredients are unknown and not controlled at all.

Another important fact that you should educate your kids on is that even if a potential drug dealer on social media has sold to friends of your child and it was fine, it doesn’t mean that the next pill won’t be deadly. The dealers don’t know what’s in their drugs, and their confidence means very little when the facts show the very high levels of fentanyl-laced drugs on the market today. 

Educate yourself and find support networks that will help you be a good parent in today’s world. Muse Treatment offers a great place to find the resources you need to keep up with the latest trends in youth substance abuse. If your teen is abusing drugs already, then Muse Treatment can help through family therapy and comprehensive addiction treatment programs to help them overcome their substance abuse in a sustainable way. Call (800) 426-1818 today if you want any assistance whatsoever with helping your kids overcome substance abuse.

Josh Chandler
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