AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Teens have their own language that's getting harder to crack.
"Each generation has their own terminology or slang they use for drugs," said Pace Lawson, Executive Director of Options Recovery. "Back in the 60's it was grass or pot and today it's whatever sounds hip and cool and can be discrete, and only understood between people who know the lingo."
But local counselors say the disguised slang is now in the form of less obvious words, like 'Eight,' 'Ice cream,' 'White girl,' 'Dog food,' and 'Gas pump,' which could stand for sex, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroine, and marijuana respectively.
"There's a certain degree of those words being really innocuous, if you heard them used everyday you wouldn't think much about them but I think that for educators or parents you will start to notice trends because often times they're sort of non sequiturs," said Ryan Horner, Prevention Education Specialist at Family Support Services. "You wouldn't really hear these words, or you wouldn't expect to hear them because they don't really apply to what is being discussed."
It's not just words and numbers causing concerns. Experts advise to be aware of certain 'Emojis' as well. 'Gang' can be spelled out using a combination of the gas pump and letter emojis, Eggplant and peach emojis can also imply sexual references.
Abbreviations are also popular with teenagers. C-U-4-6 (see you for sex), GNOC (get naked on camera), and PAW (parents are watching) are just a few that are popular.
Regardless of the disguise, Lawson believes it's important for parents to be aware of the lingo and play an active role in their child's life.
"If the parents know what that means and they see their kids using these terms and these emojis then they can approach their kids and ask, have you been using drugs, let's have that conversation," Lawson said.
Horner said to keeps teenagers safe, parents should have an agreement with them about having a digital relationship.
"I think that parents should be friends with their kids on Facebook and follow them on Instagram, but do so in a way that doesn't just spring it on them," Horner said. "It should be a conversation. If the parent promises not to post things on the page or kind of create some kind of bargain where I'll respect these certain things as long as I'm able to kind of check up in on it, and emphasizes that's more for safety than to just invade privacy."
Horner said to be aware of the teen's body language. If the teen is texting and becomes emotional or their behavior becomes more sneaky then their conversation may be something to question and look into.