A bottle, a heart and a bunch of purple grapes. If you spotted these emoji in a text message on your child’s phone, you probably won’t think anything of it.
But this array of seemingly innocent symbols could actually be your child’s way of signaling they’re in the market for getting high on cough syrup.
A pill, a candy bar and a bus? This combo could be the starting point for an illegal Xanax transaction.
“These various pharmaceutical organizations are always trying to stay ahead of the curve, avoid detection, and make it easier for their customers to order drugs,” said Timothy McMahon, supervisory special agent for the New Jersey division of the Drug Enforcement Administration. says New Jersey 101.5.
The DEA is once again reminding parents, caregivers, educators and others to be aware of drug emoji codes that the agency has been able to “decode” over time. The agency’s first warning was announced in 2021.
“A lot of people are afraid to go to certain areas to buy drugs, so it’s really convenient to use social media,” McMahon said.
The DEA notes that its reference guide is only a sample and not an exhaustive list. Emoji on their own shouldn’t indicate illegal activity, according to the agency, but a conversation with a loved one may be necessary if these symbols are combined with other signs such as a sudden loss of income or a change in life. behavior or appearance.
“We’ve been working with the various social media companies, trying to get this under control, trying to get them to do a little bit more in terms of tracking what’s going on,” McMahon said.
Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]
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