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By We Level Up NJ Treatment Center | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: February 20, 2023

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.

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 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].

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

Drug Addiction Statistics

In 2020, 10.3 million people, or 3.7 percent of those 12 and older, misused CNS stimulants in the previous 12 months. One-third of the 10.3 million people who misused CNS stimulants in the past year used only cocaine (32.4 percent, or 3.3 million people), one-third abused only prescription stimulants (32.3 percent, or 3.3 million people), and one-seventh used only methamphetamine (14.4 percent, or 1.5 million people), according to the statistics. In the previous year, an estimated 353,000 individuals (3.4 percent of CNS stimulant misusers) used or abused all three CNS stimulants.

59.3 million

In 2020, 59.3 million persons who were 12 or older used illicit substances.

Source: 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health

49.6 million

With 49.6 million users who were 12 or older, marijuana was the illicit substance that was most often taken in 2020.

Source: 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health

10.3 million

In 2020, 10.3 million individuals who were 12 years of age or older utilized CNS stimulants.

Source: 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health

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, and 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.

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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.

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. Slang for Cocaine can include emojis or similar symbols.
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. Slang for Cocaine can include emojis or similar symbols.

Slang for Cocaine

Slang for Cocaine is typically referred to as coke or blow. People who use cocaine often develop an extreme reliance on it, and may exhibit mood swings, anxiety, aggression, and paranoia. Cocaine addiction can lead to physical and mental health issues, as well as financial and social problems.

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 & Slang Word For Heroin:

Slang for Heroin: An illegal opioid that’s usually injected by users. Slang names for heroin include Antifreeze, Big H, Black Olives, Black, and Black Tar. There are other slang terms for Heroin like Aunt Hazel, Capital H, and Chocolate. There are some uncommon slang words for Heroin such as 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 or Names for Molly:

Molly is a street name for the psychoactive drug MDMA, which is a stimulant and hallucinogen. The top popular names for Molly are Ecstasy, X, XTC, and E.

This club drug is taken in pill form, and it can include mixes of other drugs in the pill. Names for Molly or MDMA also known include MDNA slang names like 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 or Meth Street Names as the same as Crank Drug Slang 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. Other crank drug slang names for crank or methamphetamine include meth, crystal, speed, crank, chalk, ice, glass, and shabu.

Other slang names for crank include garbage, jib, go fast, rock candy, and fire. Slang names for crank can also vary regionally. Some regional crank slang names examples include zip, biker’s coffee, tweak, white cross, and skippy. Moreover, Crank drug sland names also include speed, go-fast, chalk, ice, and glass. Other crank drug slang names include poor man’s cocaine, shabu, yaba, crystal meth, and many more.

Ice Drug Slang Name

Ice dust is a slang term for methamphetamine, a highly addictive and illegal stimulant drug. It is made from pseudoephedrine or ephedrine and can be taken orally, injected, or smoked. Ice dust is a popular street drug and its use is rising in some areas. The high lasts approximately 6 to 8 hours and users often experience a feeling of euphoria, increased energy, alertness, and concentration. Ice dust is also known to have a range of long-term effects, including paranoia, anxiety, and depression.

Crystal meth abuse has devastating effects. It can cause lung disorders, kidney damage, hyperthermia, stroke, and cardiac arrest.

Xanax Street Names or Bars Drug Slang:

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.

“Bars” is a slang term for Xanax, because the tablet has the form of rectangle bars. Xanax is a prescription medication used for the short-term treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. It works by decreasing activity in the brain, allowing the user to relax. The effects of the drug vary from person to person, but can include drowsiness, sedation, and decreased anxiety. When used recreationally or in higher doses, bars can be habit-forming and potentially lead to addiction.

Special K Drug Slang Terms for Ketamine:

Special K is a street name for ketamine, a dissociative anesthetic used mainly in veterinary medicine. It has psychoactive properties and is used as a recreational drug. It is known to cause effects including visual and auditory hallucinations, feelings of detachment, confusion, and an overall out-of-body experience.

Ketamine is commonly consumed as a white powder, or sometimes as crystals or a liquid. It can also be injected. Effects usually start within several minutes after taking it and last between one and two hours. Common effects include blurred vision, drowsiness, sensations of floating, changes in perception of time and color, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty coordinating movements. There may also be psychological effects, such as confusion, disorientation, impaired judgment, and memory loss. Some people may experience delusions, paranoia, and hallucinations.

Angel Dust Drug Slang

Angel dust is another slang term for phencyclidine (PCP). It is a dissociative and hallucinogenic drug, meaning it can cause users to feel disconnected from their thoughts and environment, as well as having altered perceptions, including hallucinations. It is known for causing extreme side effects and can be dangerous in large doses, including seizures, unconsciousness, and even death.

Mushroom Drug Slang

“Shrooms” or “Mushrooms” are slang terms for a variety of psilocybin mushrooms, which are natural substances with hallucinogenic properties. Psilocybin mushrooms are typically consumed orally and can lead to temporary changes in perception, emotion, and cognition. Although they are not considered addictive, they may lead to psychological dependence in some users. The effects of mushrooms are typically short-lasting, with the average trip lasting between three and six hours.

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How To Use This Guide To Protect Your Loved One

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

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. 

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[1] DEA –

[2] NIDA –

[3] NIDA –

[4] NCBI –

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