Decoding Drug Slang: Hidden Meaning Behind Emojis
When you send a smiley face, heart, or sleepy emoji the intent behind the image is usually pretty clear. But emojis have been turned into a new code language used to buy and sell drugs. A cookie emoji doesn’t just mean you are baking; it could mean there is a large batch of drugs cooking. Drug dealing is adapting to technology, and it is important you stay current on emerging trends so that you can protect your loved ones.
The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has created a reference guide on how emojis are being used to sell and obtain drugs on social media and e-commerce platforms.
Some emojis may seem intuitive, like the mushroom emoji meaning psychedelic mushrooms, while others like a banana emoji being used for Percocet or a snowflake emoji for cocaine may seem less intuitive.
A 2018 study on emerging drug phrases used IA technology to detect 30 novel terms for drugs based on one month’s worth of data from Twitter. Although still new, researchers believe their fully automated drug-term discovery system to be highly promising. This is good news for parents as the new tracking system would produce results in real-time. 1
Fake Drugs Sold on Social Media
One of the biggest dangers of social media is that kids have access to purchasing drugs on multiple apps including Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. To make matters worse, many drugs being sold online are contaminated with fentanyl, an extremely powerful synthetic opioid.
In Orange County, 7 criminal cases have recently been brought against drug dealers who sold drugs laced with fentanyl that caused fatal overdoses. Counterfeit Percocet pills, oxycodone pills, and Xanax pills were among some of the drugs laced with fentanyl that caused fatal overdoses.2
The emergence of fentanyl and other deadly opioids has led to an opioid crisis nationwide. The United States has topped over 100,000 drug overdose-related deaths in the past year, a number that has been steadily increasing. California alone has seen an almost 10% increase in drug overdoses from April 2021 to April 2022.3 Los Angeles DEA Special Agent Bill Bodner reminds us that “these are our children, loved ones, and friends” being affected by this crisis.2
National Recovery Month
For over 30 years, September has been a time to celebrate and promote new recovery practices and treatments for mental health and addiction recovery. It comes as a good reminder that addiction is a treatable disease and there are lots of resources for getting the help that you or your loved one needs.4
Laguna Treatment Hospital is an industry-accredited drug and alcohol rehab in Orange County, CA that has supported thousands with their recovery. Not only does Laguna specialize in evidence-based addiction treatment, but it also addresses other co-occurring mental illnesses affecting patients like anxiety and depression.
A good first step in getting help is to reach out to Laguna’s admissions navigators, many of which are in recovery themselves, and can walk you through how to get admitted to rehab with empathy and understanding. Call now at to start your recovery journey and learn more about addiction therapy programs in Southern California.