Understanding the Emoji Drug Code

by | May 23, 2022 | Drug Addiction, Teen/Young Adult


Parents, teachers, caregivers, and other authority figures have an additional tool available to help detect and crack down on illegal drug use.

The Drug Enforcement Agency recently released โ€œEmoji Drug Code: Decoded,โ€ a guide that provides some of the common symbols people may be using to discuss and possibly buy or sell illegal narcotics.

What is the “Emoji Drug Code”? How is it Being Used?

By using symbols instead of words in texts or emails, people can try to conceal details of their conversations from general surveillance, or get around filters that look for certain keywords. They also may be able to hide their conversations from parents and others who might recognize words like cocaine or marijuana but may not fully understand the context of seeing a diamond or a snowflake.

The coded emojis may also be used by illegal eCommerce sites, which make it easy for people to shop on their smartphones and mobile devices.

The Emoji Drug Code also includes references to household products that are known to be abused, such as cough syrup, as well as legitimate and false prescription drugs that are bought and sold, such as Xanax or Oxycodone.

This code also shares common symbols that can be used to describe a particular illegal substance, such as high potency or a large batch. Combining several emojis for drugs together can even give someone even more details about an upcoming transaction.

Dangers of Recreational Drug Use Due to the Prevalence of Fentanyl

DEA officials are especially concerned this year due to an increase in products with fentanyl added to them. This dangerous opiate can increase the potency of whatever it is added to. This has contributed to a significant increase in overdoses and deaths.

What Parents/Caregivers/Friends Can Do

The DEA said that seeing these emojis by themselves doesnโ€™t automatically mean drugs are being discussed since many of them are pretty common in many different contexts. But knowing how to understand the emoji decoder could also cause parents and others to increase their suspicion and look for other clues, such as changes in behavior and appearance.

Examples of Emojis Used to Represent Drugs

Some of the items on the list include:

  • Percocet/Oxycodone: ๐Ÿ’Š, ๐Ÿ”ต, ๐Ÿ…ฟ๏ธ, ๐ŸŒ
  • Xanax: ๐Ÿ’Š, ๐Ÿซ, ๐Ÿšƒ
  • Adderall: ๐Ÿ’Š, A-๐Ÿš†
  • Meth: ๐Ÿ”ฎ, ๐Ÿ’™, ๐Ÿ’Ž, ๐Ÿงช
  • Heroin: ๐ŸคŽ, ๐Ÿ‰
  • Cocaine: โ„๏ธ, ๐ŸŒจ๏ธ, โ˜ƒ๏ธ, ๐ŸŽฑ, ๐Ÿ”‘, ๐Ÿ˜›, ๐Ÿก
  • MDMA & Molly: โค๏ธ, โšก, โŒ, ๐Ÿ’Š, ๐Ÿฌ
  • Mushrooms: ๐Ÿ„
  • Cough Syrup: ๐Ÿ‡, ๐Ÿ’œ, ๐Ÿผ
  • Marijuana: ๐Ÿ’จ, ๐Ÿ”ฅ, ๐ŸŒด, ๐ŸŒฒ, ๐Ÿ˜ฎโ€๐Ÿ’จ, โ˜˜๏ธ

Other related emoji in the drug emojis code can include dollar signs (๐Ÿค‘, ๐Ÿ’ฐ, ๐Ÿ’ฒ, ๐Ÿ’ต) for special deals, rockets and explosives (๐Ÿš€, ๐Ÿ’ฃ, ๐Ÿ’ฅ) to designate extra potency, cookies (๐Ÿช) for a large batch, and a maple leaf (๐Ÿ) to indicate general drugs emoji.

The DEA points out that these are common emojis theyโ€™ve run across but there are others out there not on the list including crack pipe emoji or ecstasy emoji.

If you believe that someone you know may be communicating about drugs, the DEA can be a resource to get them help or involve law enforcement if needed.

Dr. Ravi Chandiramani
Dr. Ravi Chandiramani is a Naturopathic physician with over 15 years experience working with those struggling with addiction and alcoholism. Over those 15 years he has worked with over 7,000 patients. He is the founder of the Integrative Addiction Medicine (I-AM) model which combines evidence-based conventional addiction medicine with the nurturing and rebuilding modalities inherent to the practice of Naturopathic medicine.

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