As someone who is officially turning 30 this year, I have long ago come to terms with the fact that I am an Old. Should you need proof, I had to ask the youth in our Gizmodo Slack what BDE, or “Big Dick Energy,” was this week as I wasn’t sure if it was literal, figurative, and available for use by all.
That being said, you can imagine my face of utter confusion when I came across the Drug Enforcement Administration’s “emoji drug code” on Twitter earlier this week. According to the DEA, teens are using emojis of crystal balls (🔮) to buy meth and blowfish (🐡) to buy cocaine. And if you think they’re using the maple leaf (🍁) to talk about the lovely neighboring Canada, oh ho ho, you are mighty wrong. The agency says this is the universal symbol for drugs.
The DEA’s guide is aimed at parents, caregivers, and other people in teens’ lives, although the agency notes that the list is not all-inclusive. Rather, the list is a representative sample of emojis found in DEA investigations.
Hey, I am all for stopping teens from doing illegal drugs. That stuff can kill you. However, I can’t help but wonder how many parents will be like me and think, “A purple heart is code for cough syrup? I thought that was a reference to BTS.” I mean, they might be too confused to react. Take a look at the emojis used for prescription drugs, dealers, and other drugs like MDMA and marijuana and see for yourself.
(Disclaimer: I am not a parent, so who knows. Maybe parents are more discerning.)