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DEA releases 'Emoji Drug Code' chart to help parents identify drug deals in text messages

For example, according to the DEA, a brown heart and a dragon together is the code for heroin. Meth is represented with a blue heart and a diamond.

MARSHALL, Texas — The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is alerting parents of codes their children could be using to score drugs.

The DEA has released a guide, as part of their #OnePillCanKill campaign, to help parents better understand their child's "emoji language."

"This reference guide 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 DEA said. "Fake prescription pills, commonly laced with deadly fentanyl and methamphetamine, are often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms – making them available to anyone with a smartphone."

The drugs represented in the chart range from prescription medications to illegal street drugs.

For example, according to the DEA, a brown heart and a dragon together is the code for heroin. Meth is represented with a blue heart and a diamond, while a snowflake symbolizes cocaine. A maple leaf is considered the "universal" icon for drugs.

Credit: DEA

“Emojis, on their own, should not be indicative of illegal activity, but coupled with a change in behavior, change in appearance, or significant loss/increase in income should be a reason to start an important conversation,” the DEA said.

The information is becoming even more important as the DEA sees a rise in counterfeit drugs.

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The DEA says criminal drug networks are mass-producing fake pills and falsely marketing them as legitimate prescription pills to deceive the American public. 

"Counterfeit pills are easy to purchase, widely available, often contain fentanyl or methamphetamine, and can be deadly," the DEA said. "Fake prescription pills are easily accessible and often sold on social media and e-commerce platforms, making them available to anyone with a smartphone, including minors. Many counterfeit pills are made to look like prescription opioids such as oxycodone (Oxycontin®, Percocet®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), and alprazolam (Xanax®); or stimulants like amphetamines (Adderall®)."

For more information on the #OnePillCanKill campaign, click here.

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