Drug Slang Emojis: Here’s What Every Parent Needs to Know

Haley Zapal | May 26, 2021 | Internet Safety Tips Kids and Technology

Every generation has its own drug slang, and the terms and shorthand change with every passing decade. For Gen Z, it’s a little different. Kids today talk about drugs in a way that adds a new twist, using a language they’re fluent in — emojis. These emojis can look like ordinary, harmless symbols, which means parents may easily overlook them. A transaction on Venmo may look completely innocent when in reality it’s a drug dealer’s receipt. A drug-themed social media post may make it past community guidelines, spreading more information about these illicit substances. 

Drug Use Is More Common Than Parents Think — And More Dangerous

In Bark’s 2020 research on children and technology, our team found that 78.0% of tweens and 91.1% of teens engaged in conversations surrounding drugs/alcohol. Exposure is rampant on content-producing platforms like TikTok and Instagram, where references sneak into videos, captions, comments, and even the songs played in the background. A study in the U.K. revealed that one in four young people has seen illicit drugs advertised for sale on social media.

But perhaps the most frightening thing is how easily kids can purchase drugs thanks to technology. They can be ordered in a matter of seconds on social media and then delivered as easily as a pizza. Drug dealers are also fluent in how kids talk about drugs and use this to their advantage. It also can result in tragedy.  

One Mother Stands Up to Big Social Media to #LetParentsProtect

On February 7, 2021, a drug dealer reached out to Dr. Laura Berman’s son, Sammy, on Snapchat. Later on, the dealer dropped off drugs to Sammy at their house. What Sammy took turned out to be a lethal dose of fentanyl, and he had no idea he was taking it. As a result, Dr. Berman and her husband experienced every parent’s worst pain — the loss of their son.

Sadly, Sammy’s story isn’t an isolated incident. Social media poses incredible dangers to kids online — and many big social media companies like Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok refuse to let third parties like Bark monitor their children’s activities on their platforms. 

To help raise awareness — and to help prevent other families from going through what her family has experienced — Dr. Berman started the #LetParentsProtect movement and petition. The more people sign this petition, the more likely these big social media companies are to take notice and institute changes so parents can better protect their kids online.

Sign the petition

How Bark Can Help Families Protect Their Kids

The goal of Dr. Berman’s petition is to convince big social media companies to allow third-party services like Bark to work on their platforms. Bark’s advanced monitoring technology enables parents to get alerts for potential issues on their children’s devices, texts, emails, and social media accounts. 

For example, if a child were DMing someone about buying drugs using one of the slang emojis discussed above, it could be flagged and sent to the parent, enabling them to intervene and get the child help. Bark does this for many different types of dangers — not just drugs — including sexual content, online predators, suicidal ideation, threats of violence, bullying, and more. Kids don’t always know when to ask for help or when they’re in over their heads, which is why Bark is so important for families. 

Drug Slang Emoji Glossary

🌿, 🍁, 🎄, 🍃, 🥦, 🍀, 🌴 — Marijuana

💉,🐉,🐎 ,🎯  — Heroin

❄️, 🥥,🤧, 🔑,⛄,🎱  —  Cocaine

🍼,🍇 ,💜,🔮  — Cough syrup

🍬, ❤⚡,🤯  — MDMA

🍄  — Psilocybin or “magic” mushrooms

💎, 🏔, ❄  — Crystal meth

💊  — Can be used to mean prescription pills, drugs in general, or heroin

🔌  — A plug, i.e., a drug dealer or someone who can “hook you up” with contraband

💨, 🚬  — Smoking a joint

⚗️ — Used to indicate a bong

🚀 — Can mean high-quality or being very intoxicated

⛽  — Gassed, i.e., intoxicated. Can also refer to high-quality marijuana

🔥 — To “blaze” a joint or to be “lit,” meaning intoxicated

Common Drug Slang Terms

Cart — Cartridge for a vaporizer

Dabbing — A way to inhale concentrated cannabis oil by dropping some on a hot surface and letting it vaporize

Gas — Marijuana

Hulk — A 2-mg generic benzodiazepine bar

Pen — Vape for weed or tobacco; uses cartridges

Plug — Dealer

School bus — A 2-mg Xanax bar

Special K — Ketamine

Snow — Cocaine

Resources for Families

About Bark

Bark is a comprehensive online safety solution that empowers families to monitor content, manage screen time, and filter websites to help protect their kids online. Our mission is to give parents and guardians the tools they need to raise kids in the digital age.

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