Doctor who lost 16yo son to overdose shares 12 drug-related emojis every parent should know

US doctor Laura Berman has been on a quest to stop young people accessing drugs after her teen son died of a drug overdose earlier this year. 

The relationship therapist has been vocal about her family's heartbreak, which came after 16-year-old Sammy connected with a drug dealer through social media.

"My beautiful boy is gone," she posted on Instagram in February. 

"A drug dealer connected with him on Snapchat and gave him fentanyl-laced Xanax and he overdosed in his room ... my heart is completely shattered and I am not sure how to keep breathing."

Since her loss, she's become a vocal advocate for protecting children and teens from drugs, using her Instagram page to share educational resources for parents. 

A recent post from Dr Berman has gone viral, revealing the drug-related emojis teens may use to openly discuss purchasing and doing drugs.

"Teens today talk about drugs in a language they're fluent in - emojis," she wrote alongside a list of commonly used emojis and their meanings.

"Instead of writing out words and structuring sentences, teenagers and young adults are using emojis to express thoughts or emotions in conversations with their friends and online strangers.

"So, it's important that parents become educated on the language our kids are speaking."

While some are obvious, including the crystal emoji for methamphetamine, and the snow emoji for cocaine, others may be less recognisable 

According to Dr Berman, the power socket emoji represents a dealer, or 'hook up', while the drooling face emoji represents ecstasy, otherwise known as MDMA or 'Molly'.

The post has racked up over 3000 likes from parents and educators, many of whom thanked Dr Berman for sharing the knowledge. 

"Thank you so much for posting this, I never would have known," one person wrote. 

"I have a daughter that has battled addiction and I am so frustrated with Snapchat. So many dealers and drug posts," another wrote. 

"I'm not a mum but I work with children and I am just so very stunned by this," wrote another. 

According to a Newshub report last week, MDMA is currently quickly on the rise as the drug of choice for many New Zealanders. 

More than a million pills were seized by police and Customs in 2020 and the latest wastewater data indicates we're consuming almost the same amount of MDMA a week as we are methamphetamine.