SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – Emojis are an easy, popular way to share emotions in picture form via text message or on social media, but some seemingly innocent emojis are actually code for drugs!
The Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is sounding the alarm for parents, warning teens are using emojis as code to buys drugs from sellers online.
In an interview with ABC News, Bill Bodner, Special Agent in Charge at the Los Angeles DEA office, said this trend became more prevalent during the COVID pandemic. Drug transactions shifted from bars and nightclubs to online.
The biggest concerns for Bodner and the Drug Enforcement Administration? Counterfeit pills.
“All the pills you’re going to buy now on social media or on the street are counterfeit prescription drugs,” Bodner explained. “They’re not the real thing”
Bodner said the active ingredient in many of the counterfeit pills is fentanyl. According to the DEA, 4 out of every 10 pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose, and those counterfeit pills are more lethal than ever before.
It’s a drug that’s 50 times more powerful than heroin. We’re seeing it everywhere. We’ve made counterfeit pill seizures, fentanyl pill seizures in every state in the United States. It’s impacting every community.
Bill Bodner, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration
Bodner stresses parents need to have conversations with their kids about the dangers of these pills. If you think your teen might be using drugs, be on the lookout for changes in their behavior.
According to the DEA, many counterfeit pills are made to look like prescription opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and alprazolam (Xanax) or stimulants like amphetamines (Adderall).
Learn more about the Drug Enforcement Administration’s “One Pill Can Kill” campaign by clicking here.