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Drug Enforcement Administration releases list of drug emoji codes

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Graphic arts: Jody Serrano / Gizmodo

As someone officially turning 30 this year, I have long come to terms with being an Old Man. If you want proof I should have asked the youth at our Gizmodo Slack what is BDE or “Big Dick Energy” was this week as I wasn’t sure if it was literal, figurative and accessible to everyone.

That being said, you can imagine my face in utter confusion when I came across the DEA report. “drug code emoji” on Twitter earlier this week. According to the DEA, teens use the crystal ball (🔮) emoji to buy methamphetamine and the pufferfish (🐡) to buy cocaine. And if you think they use the maple leaf (🍁) to talk about the beautiful neighboring Canada, ho-ho-ho, you are very wrong. The agency says it’s a universal drug symbol.

The DEA Guide is for parents, guardians, and others. in the lives of teenagers, although the agency notes that the list is not exhaustive. Rather, the list is a representative selection of emoji found in DEA investigations.

Hey, I’m all for teens not using illicit drugs. This thing can kill you. However, I can’t help but wonder how many parents like me think, “Is Purple Heart the code for cough syrup? I thought it was a BTS reference.” I mean, they might be too confused to react. Take a look at the emoji used for prescription drugs, dealers, and other drugs like MDMA and Marij.wana and see for yourself.

(Disclaimer: I’m not a parent, so who knows. Maybe parents are more discerning.)


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