In a campaign to educate parents about their children’s emoji conversations regarding drug use, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) created a legend as a parental reference.
On December 16, the DEA hosted a press conference with DEA Administrator Anne Milgram, who discussed the dangers of illicit drug use, particularly for the country’s youth. In particular, as part of the DEA campaign “One pill can kill”, a reference sheet with identifiable emoji compilations was checked in the conference content.
Entries include Oxycodone, Xanax, Percocet, Adderall, Cocaine, Meth, Heroin, MDMA / Mollys, Cough Syrup, and Mushrooms, as well as phrases referring to the DEA as “drug dealers who advertise they sell / deal”, “bomb shit,” “High potency”, “universal for medication” and “large batch / amount”, according to the DEA breakdown. “Do you know the meaning of certain emojis? Emojis were originally designed to represent an emotion, event or activity, but have recently taken on a language of their own, ”writes the DEA. “Criminal organizations, including drug traffickers, have noticed emojis and are using them to buy and sell fake pills and other illegal drugs on social media and e-commerce.”
The emoji combination for “marijuana” contains six characters that some may or may not find applicable in translation (although it’s all about interpretation). “The reference work is intended to give parents, carers and influencers a better sense of how this language is used in connection with illegal drugs,” writes the DEA. “It is important to note that this list is not exhaustive and that the images below are a representative example. Emojis alone should not indicate illegal activities, but should be associated with a change in behavior; Change in appearance; or significant income loss / increase should be a reason to start an important conversation. We know such conversations can be difficult to initiate, so we have resources available below dea.gov/onepill. “
The DEA also provided a PowerPoint presentation on a variety of statistics and information about black market drug sales and the identification of counterfeit pills. It also included a brief mention of the most widely used social platforms referred to as “Cases of Criminal Drug Networking Activity on Social Media Platforms,” the top three of which are SnapChat, Facebook Messenger and Instagram. The cannabis emojis in the presentation were slightly different from the infographic provided.
Milgram wrote in her press conference the tragedy of teenage deaths from overdoses on drugs such as fentanyl, which was produced by Mexican drug cartels. “What is equally worrying is that the cartels have taken advantage of the perfect drug delivery tool: social media… social media applications available on every smartphone in the US. 85 percent of all Americans own smartphones, that’s around 280 million smartphones. “
Cannabis is mentioned only once in their statement, particularly in relation to the DEA’s illegal drug transport in recent months. “In total, DEA seized over 8.4 million counterfeit pills, over 5,400 pounds of methamphetamine, and hundreds of pounds each of cocaine, heroin and marijuana between September 29 and December 14 this year, often from the same locations where we seized fentanyl . “. During that surge, DEA arrested 776 people and seized 288 firearms in connection with these drug seizures, ”said Milgram. She concluded the declaration with a message calling on citizens to “be aware of the dangers and accessibility of deadly drugs on the Internet”.
A recent report from Mexico’s Defense Minister said that Mexican cartels are beginning to switch from producing cannabis and opium to producing synthetic drugs, in part because of the legal status of cannabis in many states in the United States. Fentanyl is now the leading killer of Americans between the ages of 18 and 45, according to CDC 2019-2020 data presented by Families Against Fentanyl. More people died from fentanyl poisoning than from suicide, COVID-19, and car accidents.