Illegal Emojis: Decoding Emojis Being Used for Drugs and Illegal Activities

Emojis are a digital image that has taken the world by storm. They’re available on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, where they’re used to convey all sorts of information, including emotions and descriptions. These images are often used in place of words or phrases and can be easily mistaken for some of the other things with a similar design. For example, the “face with tears of joy” emoji is the same as the “pile of poo” one.

Kids today are fluent in emojis, and they’re using these symbols to display their thoughts and emotions. But of course, with the way the world works today, aside from innocent things like self-expression, it can also be used for darker things.

Drug Emojis for Illegal Activities

Each generation develops its drug slang, and the terms vary from decade to decade. While Gen Z gains a new lexicon, they use a language they are fluent in: emojis. By using emojis, kids talk about drugs in ways that their parents may not recognize, perhaps discounting these emojis’ meanings. The transactions on Venmo may appear innocent, but they are drug dealers’ receipts. Social media posts about drugs may sneak past community guidelines and spread more information about these illicit substances.

Today, let’s explore the world of emojis and how they’re used to further the use of drugs among people. Here’s what you need to know:

Modern Drug Slang—Use of Emojis

Kids have their own set of emoji meanings. For example, the emoji that shows a ghost with a knife means “shaky” or “I’m shaking.” The emoji in which a face is filled with blood and has black eyes means “I’m baked.”

Above all, when people text each other about drugs, they use emoji icons to avoid detection. Since these images are everywhere, drug users often use them to talk about cannabis and other drugs.

For example, cannabis users will use a marijuana leaf emoji to make it seem like they’re talking about the actual plant. The marijuana leaf emoji is used to describe getting stoned or high.

Commonly Used Emojis for Drug Selling, Buying, and Using

Fake Prescription Drugs

💊,🔵,🅿️,🍌 Percocet and Oxycodone

These are pills used to relieve pain. They’re often used for chronic pain, acute pain, and cancer pain. They are opioid medications and are used for pain relief. They are highly addictive and very potent because they contain a high dosage of morphine.

The way they’re used is only through certain methods. They can be used orally or injected. The use of these medicines can lead to drug abuse and addiction. Though most of these drugs are prescription-based, they’re also available on the streets. Emojis used for these drugs include the pill, a blue circle, the letter P, and a banana. They are used for the sale and purchase of these drugs.

🍼,🍇,💜 Cough Syrup

Cough syrup is manufactured medicine given to patients who have a cough, sore throat, and cold. It is based on the composition of codeine and promethazine. It is a type of opioid painkiller and has some health risks. It is highly addictive and can lead to addiction.

🍬,❤,⚡️,🤯 MDMA and Mollies

MDMA pills are used to manage various mental conditions, including anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. It is one of the most commonly used drugs in the United States, and the health effects associated with the drug are pretty severe. Since the drug is highly addictive, the use of emojis like the yellow heart and pills are used by users to describe the drug.

Molly is a club drug used by people who go to parties. Users may also smoke it with marijuana to enjoy a “high.” It provides a euphoric rush and has other health effects as well.

Other Drugs

🌿,🍁,🎄,🍃,🥦,🍀,🌴 Marijuana

Marijuana is derived from the leaves, stems, and seeds of the cannabis plant. It is used as a psychoactive drug, which alters the user’s mood, giving them a “high,” which is why it’s also known as “weed.” The use of marijuana can lead to addiction and other health hazards.

The marijuana leaf is used to depict the plant and is used to indicate getting high. It’s not just used to describe the plant but also to show stoned users.

❄️,🥥,🤧,🔑,⛄,🎱 Cocaine

Cocaine is known for its use as a local anesthetic. It is derived from the coca plant, which is found in South America, and the drug is derived from the plant’s leaves. This drug is highly addictive and highly potent since it enters the bloodstream quickly, which is why it is particularly dangerous. It is derived from the coca plant and is used as a stimulant.

The white rock emoji is used to describe the drug, and a variety of other emojis are derived from items used to cut it.

💉,🐉,🐎,🎯 Heroin

Heroin is one of the most dangerous drugs used all over the world. It is derived from the opium poppy and is highly potent and addictive, causing an intense “high” sensation that makes users feel good. It is derived from the poppy plant and is a very potent drug. The emoji used to describe the drug is the blue syringe used by the users to promote drug use.

🍄 Psilocybin or “magic” mushrooms

Magic mushrooms are a type of psychedelic drug and contain psilocybin. These are used for recreational and spiritual purposes. These drugs are not addictive, though some health hazards are associated with them. The drug is derived from mushrooms and is used for recreational purposes.

🔮,💙,🧪,💎, 🏔, ❄ Crystal meth

Crystal meth is a stimulant drug that is used for recreational purposes. It is a highly addictive drug with some severe health risks. People who use the drug often have white, yellow, or orange teeth, which is why it is also known as “crack.” It is a drug derived from Methamphetamine and is used as a stimulant. It is highly potent and highly addictive.

Dealer Signals

🤑,💰,💵,👑,🔌 Dealer Advertising

Dealers sometimes use emojis for advertising their products. This is how they get their customers to buy their products. They use emojis to show the quantity of the drugs they’re selling, like a dollar sign ($), a stack of cash, a wagon, and a Rolls Royce.

☁️🌥🌤, 🌹 Dropping off the Weight

These illegal emojis mean delivery of drugs. For example, if someone posts a circle with a line above it and below it, that signals someone to send drugs to someone else.

🍪 Large Batch

Emojis that have to do with drugs aren’t just used for people who use drugs. Many online stores also use icons to sell items that are related to drugs or drugs only. They use images of drugs to show that they are selling the actual drug to their customers.

Other Common Drug Slang Terms and Illegal Emojis

💊 — 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. It can also refer to high-quality marijuana

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

🥧 — A large amount of drugs

🖋 — Vape for weed or tobacco; uses cartridges

🚌— A 2-mg Xanax bar

Who is Using Emojis to Refer to Drugs?

It is currently quite hard to determine who the major users of illegal emojis are. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug use is more common among some races, such as Hispanics, than other races.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is a survey mainly used in the US to measure drug use. Data on the survey is collected from people between 12 and 17 years. According to the survey, 8.9 percent of Hispanic high school students used illicit drugs in their lifetime, which was higher than non-Hispanic white students. Another study suggests that high school students primarily use drug emojis above 30.

When Did People Start Using Emojis for Drugs?

The first time the drug emojis were used was in 2009, specifically on Twitter. According to CNN, the emoji was used in tweets discussing drug deals.

gas emoji
Drug Emoji

However, these illegal emojis have escalated since then, and it is currently being used to such an extent that they cannot be decoded anymore. Since then, the term “emojis for drugs” has evolved, and it has become a common way for people to discuss drugs without actually mentioning them.


Emoticons, such as the drug emojis, have made it easier for people to talk about drugs indirectly. Therefore, people can discuss drugs and avoid the risk of being caught. The data collected from the study and survey have shown that drugs have a strong presence among students and other age groups. The use of illegal emojis in the discussion of drugs is due to the fast rise of social media. Many people are using social media to communicate and express themselves, and they are using it as a platform to discuss drugs without being caught.