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What Is Drug Slang?

To avoid getting in trouble with the law, at school and at home, individuals often use street names or drug slang to talk about drugs in secret. Drug slang allows people to talk about drugs openly without raising red flags. Therefore, staying educated on the latest drug slang is essential to catch the substance abuse problem early.

Learning drug slang is essential for prevention providers, caregivers, and educators to be informed about the different slang words used about specific drugs and drug use. Creative names and abbreviations are used to disguise conversations as being innocent and not raise red flags [1].

There are a vast amount of names used in reference to drugs. The drug slang list below is meant to be used as a brief and easy-to-use guide for loved ones to pinpoint words they hear and understand what it is in reference to. In addition, drug slang is referenced too often in pop culture, especially within the music industry.

It is just as important for people to understand and recognize the vast number of names used to reference drugs. Unfortunately, many individuals are unaware of the connection between street names and the actual drug they are referencing. For example, where a person is offered “Molly” and doesn’t understand the street name for drugs like MDMA & its addictive characteristics.

Drug Slang
Alcohol and famous drugs have gained numerous slang terms throughout their use. The more popular the substance, the more drug slang is linked with it.
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Uncovering Drug Slang & Street Names

Drug slang and street names consist of constantly changing terms that refer to everything from buyers, sellers, the drug itself, and everything in between. Why? This insider drug code serves several key objectives. It makes illegal trades easier to discuss in public and a lot less obvious than using specific terms outright. It’s also a dependable way to determine authentic customers versus someone who might be an undercover cop. Last, and maybe most importantly, drug slang makes it much more challenging for law enforcement to track drug-related actions. 

As such, if you’re completely unfamiliar with illicit-drug vernacular, it can be difficult figuring out where to begin. Although many drug slang is based on some play on the drug’s name, the street names aren’t always obvious–in fact, the majority of a drug’s street name will likely have (seemingly) nothing to do with what the drug’s actually called. A drug slang term could be based on the drug’s appearance, how it’s used, how it’s packaged, or how it makes people feel. Keep in mind that drug dealer slang can vary widely between regions and countries 

Why Not Just Call it What it Is?

Drug dealers are salespeople, and they know that calling drugs trendy or funky names make their products seem cool. That makes the buyer feel cool, too—like they’re part of the “in-crowd.” Street names are a marketing ploy: a way for people who sell drugs to make them seem more appealing, as well as safe—not harmful like they really are [2].

Drug Slang
Some street names for drugs or drug slang are simply designed to cover up the topic of conversation from possible eavesdroppers.

Think about “Spice,” for instance. It sounds like it could easily be found in the kitchen cabinet, next to the basil, oregano, or garlic powder. Even “fake marijuana” sounds almost natural compared with the variety of dangerous manmade chemicals those products actually contain. But if it was called “scary chemicals that may cause paranoia, anxiety, and hallucinations,” it might not go over so well.

Or how about “robotripping?” Sounds like the latest EDM dance move, but really it’s slang for abusing over-the-counter cough and cold medicines that contain dextromethorphan (DXM). Other street names for DXM include “orange crush,” “skittles,” and “velvet syrup.” Those might sound yummy, but don’t be fooled—abusing DXM can raise your blood pressure, make you feel sick, and even make you hallucinate.

Giving drugs cute or edgy names doesn’t change how they affect your brain and body. So the next time someone starts talking about eightballs (crack mixed with heroin), yeah-o (cocaine), or Jamaican gold (marijuana), remember: cute names don’t work if you have the facts about drugs.

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Glossary Of Drug Street Names 

Adderall Street Names:

Adderall is an addictive prescription drug containing two components (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine). Adderall is highly addictive when taken at levels higher than a doctor’s prescribed. Adderall addiction can harm the body, imbalance the mind, and destroy relationships. Street names include Addies, Bennies, Black Beauties, Crosses, Hearts, LA Turnaround, Speed, Truck Drivers, Uppers.

Amphetamines Street Names: 

Amphetamines are addictive stimulant drugs that may be used to treat ADD or obesity. They’re abused off-label or purchased from drug dealers to produce a high. Slang terms include Addys, Black Mollies, Beans, Chunk, Cartwheels, Diet Pills, Greenies, Horse Heads, French Blues, Jelly Babies, Little Bombs, Peaches, Pixies, Sweeties, Speed, Wheels, Truck Drivers, and Zoomers.

Barbiturates Street Names:

This synthetic class of drugs works to slow down the body’s functions, acting as a downer. It is a very common medication in pre-surgical sedation but has very high barbiturates addiction rates when used recreationally. In clinical settings, barbiturates treat anxiety or sleep disorders. Slang names include Yellows, Reds, Barbs, Blues, Tooies, Rainbows, Yellow Jackets, Downers, Pink Ladies, and Bluebirds.

Cocaine Street Names:

An illegal stimulant that can be snorted. Common slang names for cocaine include Angel Powder, Audi, Big C, Blanco, Belushi (when mixed with opiates like heroin), BMW, Blow, Candy, Coke, Death Valley, Devil’s Dandruff, Dust, Florida Snow, Gold Dust, Icing, Nose Candy, Paradise White, Racehorse Charlie, White, and Zip. There are always new street names for coke being used, so keep an ear out for more names of this drug. Some cocaine street names, like speedball, refer to the drug when it’s mixed with heroin. Death from cocaine overdose can happen on the first use of the drug or unexpectedly thereafter.

drug slang
There have been cases where police linked emojis to communication about drug deals. Some symbols are obvious: a pill or a syringe. Others are not as straightforward

Crack Cocaine Street Names:

A smokable form of cocaine also has its own slang terms. These include Apple Jack, Bomb, Bump, CD, Dime Special, Ice, Pony White Ball, and Yale. Whether used for short durations or extended periods, any use is associated with cocaine side effects. Using this drug can lead to a severe heart attack even in young and otherwise healthy

Cough Medicine Street Names:

Believe it or not, all age groups abuse cough medicine. Certain ingredients in cough medicine can cause psychoactive effects when taken in abundance. Street names include Robo, Drank, Red Devils, Triple C, Purple, and Velvet.

Fentanyl Street Names:

This dangerous opioid is found in illegal opioid drugs, often mixed into the batch. It can also be prescribed. Fentanyl produces a powerful, but dangerous high. Names include Apache, China White, Crazy One, Butter, Jacket, Fent, and Fenty. Fentanyl addiction can depress the respiratory system to the point of failure, leading to a fatal fentanyl overdose.

Heroin Street Names:

An illegal opioid that’s usually injected by users. Slang names for heroin include Antifreeze, Big H, Black Olives, Black, Black Tar, Aunt Hazel, Capital H, Chocolate, DOA, Salt, Smack, Wings, and Tootsie Roll.

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Inhalants Street Names:

Inhalants are chemicals found in ordinary household or workplace products that people inhale on purpose to get “high.” People often don’t realize that inhaling the fumes of these products, even just once, can be very harmful to the brain and body and can lead to death [3]. Common slang for inhalants includes “laughing gas” (nitrous oxide), “snappers” (amyl nitrite), “poppers” (amyl nitrite and butyl nitrite), “whippets” (fluorinated hydrocarbons, found in whipped cream dispensers), “bold” (nitrites), and “rush” (nitrites). Repeated use of this substance can lead to inhalant addiction.

LSD Street Names:

A hallucinogenic drug that produces psychedelic effects. Street names include Acid, Black Star, California Sunshine, Coffee, Dots, Hawaiian Sunshine, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Lucy drug, Pink Panthers, Pure Love, Purple Haze, Sunshine, Zen, and White Dust. It’s also associated with variants of yellow drug slang including yellow dimples and yellow sunshine.

Marijuana Street Names:

Often considered a gateway drug, this plant is smoked by its users. The leaves may be laced with additional drugs. Slang names for marijuana include 420, Blue Crush, Broccoli, Dojo, Gold Leaf, Catnip, Hash, Jamaican Gold, Khalifa, Leaf, Stem, Weed, and Zambi.

MDMA Street Names:

This club drug is taken in pill form, and it can include mixes of other drugs in the pill. MDMA is also known by its slang names: E, E- Bomb, Ecstasy, Dancing Shoes, Love Drug, Love Potion, Molly, XTC, and X. Bean drug is another slang name for MDMA. Molly is basically the second coming of ecstasy. MDMA abuse usually happens in raves, nightclubs, and music festivals because users believed the high enhanced their experiences.

Methamphetamines Street Names:

This drug is a central nervous system stimulant. In legal settings, it’s used as a medication for ADHD or other disorders. Illegal use also exists. Slang names include: Bump, Aqua, Chalk, Colorado Rockies, Crank, Chalk, Fizz, Hot Ice, Lemon Drop, Meth, Crystal meth, and Zip. Crystal meth abuse has devastating effects. It can cause lung disorders, kidney damage, hyperthermia, stroke, and cardiac arrest

Xanax Street Names:

This prescription drug is used to treat anxiety in patients. Illegally and legally, it’s very addictive. Street names include: Bars, Z-Bars, Zannies, Xanies, School Bus, Planks, Footballs, and Sticks [4]. Taking Xanax can lead to physical dependence and addiction. In addition, withdrawal is one of the most common Xanax side effects.

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How To Use This Guide To Protect Your Loved One

These street names and drug slangs are just the tip of the iceberg that is recreational drug abuse and is far from comprehensive. This guide merely stresses how diverse these terms are and how easy they might be to overlook in a conversation.

The takeaway from this article is that rather than relying on hearing–and knowing–drug code words that you identify, look out for seemingly out-of-place words or phrases that your loved ones use frequently or perhaps in hushed tones. Behavioral cues will always be one of the most reliable ways to determine if someone you care about is abusing or addicted to drugs and will persist long after the latest drug terminology falls out of fashion. 

If you or someone you love is struggling with any form of substance abuse, get them the safest help they need and deserve. Our team at We Level Up NJ specializes in creating an ideal environment and providing effective therapies. 

drug slang
Knowing street names and drug slang for various drugs can help people identify substance abuse.

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[1] DEA –

[2] NIDA –

[3] NIDA –

[4] NCBI –