Researcher uses Reddit to find out what types of marijuana posts influenced attitudes towards legalization
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says it cracked the code to find out which emojis young people talk to about buying and selling illegal drugs.
But in the classic “How are you with other children?” The federal authorities do not seem to have mastered the technical jargon – for example, they have omitted common emojis that are used instead of marijuana in a new guide for parents.
The agency even seems confused internally as there are multiple iterations of their drug emoji guide showing different symbols used for the same drugs.
DEA also found that the emojis 💣 and 💥 – which they interpreted as “bomb shit” – are used frequently enough in illegal drug deals to get attention on a government-issued parenting flyer.
And one might wonder what Canadians say about the leading US drug agency calling the maple leaf emoji “universal for drugs” because it is closely tied to the country as the centerpiece of its flag.
In any case, DEA says that its “One Pill Can Kill” campaign “gives the media, parents, teachers, educators and community organizations an opportunity to raise awareness of counterfeit prescription drugs”.
“Do you know the meaning of certain emojis? Emojis were originally designed to represent an emotion, event or activity, but have recently adopted a language of their own, ”the agency wrote. “Criminal organizations, including drug traffickers, have noticed emojis and are using them to buy and sell fake pills and other illegal drugs on social media and e-commerce.”
The DEA reference work “is designed to give parents, carers and influencers a better sense of how this language is used in connection with illegal drugs.”
DEA created this fact sheet on how to decipher the emoji drug code. This guide is designed to give you a better idea of how emojis are used in connection with illegal drugs. Take care of your teen / loved one and don’t be afraid to lead the conversation if you suspect substance abuse is occurring. pic.twitter.com/HuPnfnkcEx
– DEA Educational Foundation (@DEAEdFoundation) December 21, 2021
However, it acknowledged that “this list is not all-inclusive” and the emoji guide is “a representative sample”.
DEA Administrator Anne Milgram spoke about the new effort at a press conference last week.
“Criminal drug networks are now the focus of social media, always with us when our smartphones are,” she said. Known emojis and code words are widely used as online cues when buying and selling deadly drugs such as fentanyl and counterfeit fentanyl pills online. That means these deadly drugs are reaching our communities faster, easier, and cheaper than ever before. You are only one click away. “
A PowerPoint on the emoji data also contained a slide on which social media platforms are most often used by criminal companies. First came Snapchat, followed by Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and YouTube. (However, the slide mistakenly switched the logos for TikTok and YouTube.)
While the agency’s attempt to decipher youth emoji trends has some scare factor – how do you leave out 🍃 and 🌳 as shorthand for marijuana? – There is a counterfeit pills problem in the US that has contributed to overdose deaths.
It is noteworthy, however, that the consumption of illegal drugs among adolescents – from marijuana to OxyContin – “fell significantly” in 2021, according to a survey financed by the federal government at the beginning of this month.
“Emojis alone shouldn’t indicate illegal activity, but rather be associated with a change in behavior; Change in appearance; or significant income loss / increase should be a reason to start an important conversation, ”DEA said.
While the agency is fighting illicit drug trafficking, including by deciphering emojis, it is also promoting research on currently controlled substances such as cannabis, psilocybin, and MDMA.
For example, a representative said this month that the DEA is backing a White House proposal to streamline the process of research into Schedule I drugs.
It has also repeatedly raised production targets for such substances to meet demands from researchers investigating their potential risks and benefits.
While these developments hold promise, proponents are still frustrated that certain plants and mushrooms will remain in the strictest drug category at all, especially given the existing research showing their medicinal value for certain diseases.
A federal appeals court recently dismissed a motion asking the DEA to reassess cannabis scheduling under the Controlled Substances Act. However, a judge said in a concurring opinion that a misinterpretation of the therapeutic value of marijuana may soon force the agency to consider changing the policy.
Meanwhile, DEA has given hemp companies selling Delta-8-THC products a boost, with representatives recently making comments signaling that it is not currently a controlled substance, at least at the federal level.
The first safe drug use websites in the US are already saving lives by stopping dozen of overdoses in less than a month, NYC officials say
Photo courtesy of Pixabay / terimakasih0.
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