Deputy details how teens use emojis to buy illegal drugs online

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By Ashley Silver

HAYS COUNTY, Texas – A sheriff’s department is doing what it can to crack down on minors’ access to fentanyl and other illegal drugs after four Hays County teenagers died of fentanyl overdoses this year .

According to CBS News – Austin, emoji symbols are used to thwart suspicion when selling illegal drugs.

“Kids are smart, aren’t they? They’ll find a way not to get caught,” Hays County Deputy Anthony Hipolito told CBS News.

People who sell drugs to children think the absence of words in digital text will negate any guilt, but Deputy Hipolito said that was not the case. In the age of social media, agents are constantly looking for new ways to evolve their information and need parents to be vigilant as well.

“Parents aren’t really aware of what kids are saying and how they’re using social media,” Hipolito said. “We always seem to be behind, but we try to do our best to learn.”

The US Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration have released a drug decoder to teach parents and educators how emojis are used. Drug dealers and users use cookie emojis to order large amounts of drugs or tree leaf emoji to know if someone is selling marijuana.

Decoded Emoji Drug Code – DEA by epraetorian on Scribd

Hipolito realizes the uphill struggle the officers have ahead of them, telling CBS News, “We’re not going to take all the drugs off the streets, but if we take them one pill at a time or one gram at a time, or whatever, we do our job.

The fentanyl crisis continues to plague communities nationwide. Recently, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration issued a warning informing the public of an “alarming emerging trend” of colored fentanyl available across the United States, and last week a college student overdosed on a pill containing fentanyl, which prompted naloxone nasal sprays to be distributed to schools in Torrance, California.

RELATED: Download the Police1 Guide to Strategies to Win the War on Opioids

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