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Popular Drug Slang, Street Names, and Jargon.

Slang names exist for all types of drugs: prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and illegal substances. Family members or loved ones of people who suffer from drug addiction often find themselves playing detective, trying to crack the code to strange behavior, emotions, or terms they use while texting or over the phone. If you suspect your loved one is using drugs, the detective work only gets harder because people in addiction are often purposefully covering their tracks. What looks like a “SODA” can actually be a hiding place for marijuana. When they talk about getting a “BAR” do they mean the snack or Zanex pill? Drug slang allows people in addiction to talk about drugs openly without raising any red flags at work, at college, or at home.

 Unfortunately, using popular slang for drugs is a common sign of addiction. If you see or even think your loved one may be using drugs, staying educated on the latest slang is essential to catch the substance abuse problem early. And if it does turn out your loved one has an addiction to drugs or alcohol, this early detection will play a key role in getting them the help they need as quickly as possible. Here are some of the most common terms used for popular drugs of abuse.

To avoid getting in trouble with the law, at school and at home, teens often use slang or street names to talk about drugs in secret. If you hear your teen using any of these slang terms, it may indicate they’re using them. It’s important to identify drug use early and take action before their drug abuse turns into an addiction.

Overland IOP| #1 Intensive Outpatient Programs | Los Angeles CA Drug slang
Drug slang

XANAX: “Bars”. Drug slang.

Overland IOP| #1 Intensive Outpatient Programs | Los Angeles CA XANAX: "Bars". Drug slang.

Xanax (generic name: alprazolam) is a common prescription medication of the benzodiazepine class that’s used to treat anxiety and panic disorders as well as nausea from chemotherapy.  People with the drug addiction may abuse the anti-anxiety medication Xanax or the similar drugs Valium, Klonopin, and Ativan — and feel drowsy and out of it, with very few so-called “fun” side effects. But once they start taking it, it can be difficult to stop. The more they use, the greater their risk of serious side effects, like twitching, depression, and seizures. People who mix Xanax with alcohol or other drugs are especially at risk. 

Xanax is a long, thin white or yellow pill that can be divided into fourths. If taken all at once by an individual who has not developed a tolerance to the drug, it can cause an intense euphoric high followed by feelings of relaxation, severe drowsiness, and memory loss.

Drug slang for Xanax include:

  • Xannies
  • Bars
  • Z-Bars
  • Zanbars or Xanbars
  • Handlebars
  • Planks
  • Bricks
  • Benzos
  • Blue Footballs
  • Upjohn
  • School Bus
  • Bicycle Parts
  • Yellow Boys
  • White Boys
  • White Girls

ADDERAL: “Beans”. Drug slang.

Overland IOP| #1 Intensive Outpatient Programs | Los Angeles CA 30mg tablets Adderall XR

Intended to help kids with attention disorders, Adderall is now the poster child of prescription drug abuse among teens. Adderall is also among the most popular study aid drugs, which teens seek out to increase their focus and energy levels on exam days and for all-night study sessions. In recent years, it’s also been growing in popularity at parties.

In 2019, approximately 3.9% of high school seniors in the U.S. used Adderall, with many of these kids getting it from their doctors. In some cases, young people simply know where to buy Adderall on the street (i.e. buying it from a dealer or “trader”) or where to score it from a friend or family member. Nearly 42% of high schoolers say it’s easy to obtain Adderall or similar stimulants.

Other names for Adderall include:

  • Addys
  • Uppers
  • Beans
  • Black Beauties
  • Pep Pills
  • Speed
  • Dexies
  • Zing
  • Study Buddies
  • Smart Pills

Bath Salts. Drug slang.

Marketed as “bath salts” or cleaning chemicals to circumvent drug laws, these are synthetic over-the-counter powders with a powerful amphetamine-like stimulating effect. Bath salts have become popular through word of mouth and are also available in gas stations and convenience stores.

It didn’t take long for them to become a national issue, as they sent thousands of young people to the hospital with scary and sometimes irreversible side effects — although treatment options for this dangerous substance are available. In 2013, nearly 23,000 ER visits in the U.S. were related to bath salts.

Other names for bath salts are often variants of different brand names, which include:

  • Cloud 9
  • Vanilla Sky
  • White Lightning
  • Bloom
  • Scarface
  • Bliss
  • Drone
  • Energy-1
  • Meow Meow
  • Pure Ivory
  • Blue Silk
  • Stardust
  • Lunar Wave
  • Wicked X

Cocaine: “Coke”. Drug slang.

One of the most notorious illicit drugs, cocaine is a white powder that causes a short burst of energy and euphoria when snorted, smoked, or injected. Cocaine highs fade quickly and leave users craving another hit, often turning casual teen cocaine abuse into a lasting addiction.

Cocaine street names include:

  • Coke
  • Blow
  • Rock
  • Crack
  • Yayo
  • Snow
  • Sniff
  • Sneeze
  • White
  • Nose Candy
  • Bernice
  • Toot
  • Line
  • Dust
  • Flake

Cough Medicine. Drug slang.

Teens have taken to “robotripping,” a woozy type of high caused by drinking cough syrup. The active ingredient in several major cough syrups, dextromethorphan (or DXM), is responsible for the intoxicating effects — and even a chemical dependency, in some cases. Codeine cough syrups, which are even more potent, were recently taken off the shelves because of how dangerous they are, but teens can still get them from somebody with a prescription.

Cough syrup and DXM street names include:

  • Dexies
  • Drex
  • Robo
  • Rojo
  • Red Devils
  • Poor Man’s Ecstasy
  • Orange Crush
  • Tussin
  • Velvet
  • Triple C
  • Drank, Purple Drank or Sizzurp (combining cough syrup with soda)
Overland IOP| #1 Intensive Outpatient Programs | Los Angeles CA drug-slang-street-names

Crystal Meth:”Ice”. Drug slang.

Methamphetamine, or crystal meth, is a stimulant that’s nearly three times as powerful as cocaine with a high that lasts for hours followed by a debilitating comedown (or “crash”) and, for those looking to get clean, a difficult drug detox. 

Crystal meth street names include:

  • Crystal
  • Meth
  • Cristy
  • Tina
  • Crank
  • Crissy
  • Tweak
  • Glass
  • Ice
  • Shards
  • Go
  • Whizz
  • Chalk

Ecstasy (MDMA): “Molly”. Drug slang.

Ecstasy has become the go-to club drug for young people and is often used at parties, nightclubs, concerts and music festivals. Ecstasy — which is the chemical MDMA, often mixed with other ingredients — causes a rush of dopamine (a chemical that regulates happiness and related sensations) in the brain, and is known to make users feel more connected to each other.

Ecstasy slang includes:

  • X
  • E
  • XTC
  • Molly
  • Rolls
  • Hug
  • Hug Drug
  • Love Drug
  • Lover’s Speed
  • Beans
  • Adam
  • Clarity
  • Moon Rocks
  • Happy Pill
  • Dancing Shoes
  • Scooby Snacks
  • Candy

HEROIN: “Dope”. Drug slang.

Heroin goes by many names. Once it enters the body, heroin blocks the pain receptors in the brain, inducing a numb, euphoric state for a period of hours. This intensely addictive drug is typically used by injection with a needle.

Heroin street names include:

  • H
  • Smack
  • Dope
  • China White
  • Horse
  • Skag
  • Junk
  • Black Tar
  • Big H
  • Brown Sugar
  • Mud
  • Dragon
  • Boy
  • Mexican Brown
  • Thunder
  • Skunk
  • Scag

INHALANTS. Drug slang.

One of the most common ways that teens experiment with getting high is by breathing in gas, cleaners, markers and other household objects with noxious fumes. These types of items are referred to as inhalants. When a teen uses an inhalant, they will often empty some of the contents onto a rag or into a plastic bag, and then hold it to their face and breathe in. This is called huffing.

Inhalant street names include:

  • Huff
  • Poppers
  • Whippets
  • Nitrous
  • Laughing Gas
  • Moon Gas
  • Snappers
  • Bold
  • Rush
  • Air Blast
  • Glad
  • Hippie Crack
  • Oz
  • Discorama
  • Whiteout
  • Poor Man’s Pot

Ketamine. Drug slang.

Created as a veterinary anesthetic, ketamine is a colorless liquid or white powder that has a tranquilizing effect and causes both breathing and the heart rate to slow down. This can send users into a “K-hole,” where it becomes difficult to move.

Ketamine street names include:

  • K
  • Ket
  • Special K
  • Vitamin K
  • Green K
  • Super C
  • Super Acid
  • Special La Coke
  • Jet
  • Purple
  • Kit Kat
  • Cat Valium
  • Honey Oil

MARIJUANA: “Weed”. Drug slang.

The green, pungent leaves of the cannabis plant — known as “marijuana,” “weed” and many other names — maintain a stronghold as the most popular drug among U.S. teens. When smoked, marijuana releases THC, a potent psychoactive chemical. This makes the user feel relaxed, heightens their senses, and has a mild hallucinogenic effect. It can also cause paranoia and impaired motor function.

Slang names for marijuana include:

  • Weed
  • Pot
  • Hashish
  • Hash
  • Green
  • Bud
  • Grass
  • Trees
  • Reefer
  • Herb
  • Mary Jane
  • Ganja
  • Hemp
  • Dope
  • Chronic
  • Kush
  • Sinsemilla
  • Purple Haze

Synthetic Marijuana: “Spice”. Drug slang.

Similar to bath salts, a number of companies began selling synthetic marijuana in the 2000s. Packaged in small, colorful wrapping and given catchy names, these products bypassed drug laws by using a mishmash of legal chemicals and by being sold as “herbal incense.” When smoked, the high from these chemicals mimics the high of marijuana. 

Slang and brand names for synthetic marijuana include:

  • Spice
  • K2
  • K2 Drug
  • K3 Drug
  • Bliss
  • Black Mamba
  • Yucatan Fire
  • Skunk
  • Genie
  • Bombay Blue
  • Solar Flare
  • Zohai
  • Joker
  • Kush
  • Kronic

LSD: “Acid”. Drug slang.

This infamous psychedelic drug known for its 12-hour “trip” full of hallucinations has been popular with teens since the 1960s. LSD is typically sold on small squares of paper similar to postage stamps or absorbed into sugar cubes, which are then ingested. In its most basic form, LSD is a clear, odorless liquid.

LSD street names include:

  • Acid
  • L
  • Lucy
  • Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
  • Cid
  • Tabs
  • Doses
  • Blotter
  • California Sunshine
  • Yellow Sunshine
  • Window Pane
  • Battery Acid
  • Dots
  • Looney Toons
  • Superman

MUSHROOMS. Drug slang.

Psychedelic mushrooms can closely resemble the mushrooms used in cooking and are grown in a similar way. Unlike mushrooms used for cooking, there are nearly 200 species of mushrooms that contain psilocybin, a mind-altering chemical. Teens may trip on psilocybin mushrooms much like they would on LSD — eating them can lead to an altered sense of space and time, hallucinations and euphoria, along with nausea and panic attacks.

Street names for mushrooms include:

  • Magic Mushrooms
  • Shrooms
  • Boomers
  • Caps
  • Mushies
  • Buttons
  • Magics
  • Blue Meanies
  • Liberty Caps
  • Cubes
  • Liberties
Overland IOP| #1 Intensive Outpatient Programs | Los Angeles CA drug-terms-you-need-to-know

OXYCOTIN: “Oxy”. Drug slang.

Oxycodone, the generic name for the brand name OxyContin, is a narcotic painkiller prescribed in slow-release pills that work over a period of 12 hours. The drug has a high risk for abuse and dependence. Although the tablets are slow-release, teens crush them into a powder and snort them, releasing the full amount and potency of the drug all at once. To counteract the growing popularity of the drug, in 2013, the FDA approved a variant that couldn’t be crushed into powder.

OxyContin street names include:

  • Oxy
  • OC
  • O
  • Ox
  • Oxycotton
  • Oxy 80s
  • Blue
  • 512s
  • Kickers
  • Killers
  • Hillbilly Heroin

VICODIN: “Vikes”. Drug slang.

Vicodin is another brand-name prescription narcotic. This powerful painkiller is a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen, and in 2014, the DEA reclassified it from a schedule III to a schedule II drug due to its widespread misuse and potential for addiction. 

Vicodin street names include:

  • Vikes
  • Vics
  • Vicos
  • Hydros
  • Lorris
  • Fluff
  • Scratch
  • Norco
  • Idiot Pills
  • Tabs
  • Watsons
  • 357s

PCP. “Vikes”. Drug slang.

This dissociative anesthetic drug drives users into disorientation and causes a loss of bodily and mental control. Not only can PCP lead to mental health issues such as severe depression, but it can cause psychosis. In fact, many tragic suicides, murders and accidental deaths have been attributed to PCP use.

PCP street names include:

  • Angel dust
  • Ozone
  • Rocket fuel
  • Love boat
  • Embalming fluid
  • Hog
  • Superweed
  • Wack
  • Wet (a marijuana joint dipped in PCP)

If you notice signs of addiction, and you hear your loved one uses some of the slang we disclosed in this article, he or she may have a drug abuse or drug addiction problem.

Addiction is a disease, not a moral failing. Recovery requires professional medical treatment. The longer an addiction goes untreated, the more difficult treatment becomes. It’s ok to be afraid and uncertain of what to do next. The social stigma of drug addiction can make it feel even more difficult to take action. We at Overland IOP recommend speaking to a medical or treatment professional, like your family doctor, or contact us directly. Our team can answer any questions you may have and help you find detox and rehab facilities if you decide on inpatient or outpatient rehab, PHP, or IOP for your family.

All conversations at Overland IOP are 100% confidential. We’re here to help  —  take the first step by giving us a call, contact us via live chat or contact form today.

Published: July 27, 2021

Last Updated: July 14, 2021

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Natalia Golenkova

Marketing Specialist

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