Thanks to ClickonDetroit for this:
Law enforcement has some insight into how emojis are being used.
“It is almost a language unto itself,” N1 Discovery Forensic expert Scott Bailey said. “You can use emojis and characters to describe what drugs you’re selling.”
Brian McNeal works for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s Detroit Division.
“Every single platform. You name it. It’s being sold,” McNeal said. “That’s the scary thing. There was a time when drugs knew demographics and boundaries, you know. You found methamphetamine out in the sticks and you found crack cocaine out in the city. No longer. It’s everywhere and that’s what being on social media almost uber-ized has done.”
Drug dealers are hidden behind social media accounts and they’re communicating with young people without using words. They’re speaking in code, using emojis and it’s happening throughout Metro Detroit.
“We’ve got the common ones like trees for cannabis, marijuana. Ice, diamonds for methamphetamine,” McNeal said.
A rocket ship is used by drug dealers to advertise drug potency.
The maple leaf is the universal symbol for all drugs.
Sellers offer to deliver the drugs using a gas pump, car or cellphone emoji.
A shipping box or parachute indicates they can ship the drugs.
A cookie emoji means they have a large batch.
Emojis also used for sexually explicit conversations
The real danger is parents think nothing of the emojis and their kids have no idea the pill they’re buying could kill them.
“The Adderall one is a very common one because Adderall is so prevalent in schools. And that’s the pill with the A and the train (A-🚆), and that would be the Adderall train,” online forensics expert Scott Bailey said.
Bailey said teens are having entire conversations with just emojis. Not just about drugs, but other things too.
“There is a whole set of emojis that are sexually explicit,” Bailey said. ” One of the most common ones right now we’re starting to see is the ramen noodle emoji (🍜). And you’re saying, ‘Ramen noodle? How is that used sexually?’ Ramen noodle is a way to ask for nudes. Noodle, nude. So, if you’re seeing that maybe with some other key icons related to sexually explicit, that should raise concerns for a parent.”
“The emoji of the face with the teardrop and the squirt gun is: I hate myself and I want to kill myself,” Bailey said.
“If you are starting to see these emojis being used and you combine it with perhaps, behavior changes, a drop in performance at school or in sports. That might be a red flag for you to do some more investigating and have those conversations with a loved one or child,” McNeal said.
With new emojis coming out every year now, it’s a lot to keep up with. But both of the experts Local 4 spoke with also stressed the importance of getting familiar with emoji language.