‘Parents Need to Stay on Top’ of Which Emojis Are Codes for Drugs, Expert Says — Here’s a List

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People on 9/9/2022 by Alexandra Rockey Fleming

Emojis used by drug dealers trying to sell drugs on social media.
Credit: DEA

“Unfortunately, they’re very dynamic and change over time,” Dr. Tim K. Mackey tells PEOPLE

Countless messages, comments and posts are dedicated to drug sales on the internet, and parents must be aware of efforts — from local vendors to larger criminal groups — to market illicit substances to their children, experts say.

“That could be social media, internet pharmacies or the dark web,” Dr. Tim K. Mackey, the CEO of S-3 Research and a professor of global health at UC San Diego, tells PEOPLE. “A lot of the dealers are involved in all three of those areas or multiple platforms at the same time. They then deliver the drugs through the mail or through food-delivery services.”