It is not an unknown fact that from generation to generation, new phrases, colloquialisms, and ways to communicate come about depending on what’s new in our society at the time. Consider the boom of social media alone! But what happens, when the evolution of communication develops a secret code that is used to masks the harmful things that may be occurring in society?
When the opioid epidemic arose among the youth, it introduced several terms, expressions and even discrete codes that can make it difficult for parents, teachers, and all other adults to know or detect when teens are talking about engaging in opioid use or prescription medication misuse. However, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has now become aware of opioid trafficking individuals and organizations that use emojis to buy/sell drugs or even counterfeit pills on social media and e-commerce platforms! Thus, the DEA has provided simple reference material that gives parents and adults insight and a mini translation manual needed to better raise awareness and equip them to know what their teens are referencing in the effort to prevent and reduce the number of youth who use opioid and misuse medications.
View the image below for common emojis combinations used to describe different prescription drugs.