DEA warns teens are using emojis to find and deal drugs; here’s what Arizona parents need to know
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Did you know a snowflake emoji can mean cocaine in drug lingo? The DEA is sounding the alarm for parents because of the increased dangers of drugs, particularly those laced with fentanyl. Its part of the agency’s “One Pill Can Kill Campaign.”
“Our kids are inundated with information. They’re getting it every single day on social media,” said Brock Bevell, co-owner of Victory Recovery.
Bevell and former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Max Hall, own Victory Recovery, a drug counseling center in Mesa. Both are recovering addicts. Bevell is a former Mesa police officer. He said kids are using a modern method of shorthand to order their drugs digitally.
For example, a brown heart and a dragon mean heroin. A crystal ball or blue heart stands for meth. Those are just a few examples from the list compiled from DEA investigations. According to the agency, the list is “intended to give parents, caregivers, educators, and other influencers a better sense of how emojis are being used in conjunction with illegal drugs.”
The emojis are used in texts, social media videos, and private messages. And while using code to reference drugs is nothing new, but the ease of getting illicit drugs is.
“We had codes. We never said out loud ‘Hey I want to buy some cocaine.’ That’s not how it’s done,” Bevell said. “Our kids are using the same methods, it’s just on social media. If you as a parent don’t understand that, you’re going to miss out.”
Bevell said they couldn’t stress enough for parents to have those conversations. According to the CDC, drug overdose deaths topped 100,000 for the first time in 2021.
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