Each of the drugs available on the market, both the prescription drugs and the illegal ones, have earned a “street” or slang name. Some even have more than one slang name.

These drug slang names change with the efforts of the drug dealers and users to cover up from parents, friends, and the police. This will allow them to talk about the drugs openly in public without them knowing the discussion is about illicit drugs.

 The practice has been known, especially by the police departments worldwide, causing them to spend considerable time and resources to keep up with the changing language in the world of drugs.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimated that around 24.6 million Americans over age 12 use illegal drugs in 2013. It translates to 9.4 percent of teenagers and adults in the US are abusing drugs. The sadder fact is it has surpassed the highest rate of drug use in 2002 which was at 8.3 percent.

Parents and guardians must also learn these slang terms as illegal use of drugs and overdose deaths continue to increase in the younger generation. In recent years, “club drugs” are among the most commonly abused substances by teenagers and young adults. Ecstasy, ketamine, and other illegally procured prescription drugs like Adderall and Vicodin are among the “club drugs” often used. The use of other well-known drugs like heroin also continues to increase over time.

 Keeping track of the most commonly abused drugs is a challenge. Staying in step with the increasing number of slang terms of the substances is doubly hard. To help you in doing so, here is a list of the drugs categorized into opioids, stimulants, club drugs, hallucinogens, depressants, and over-the-counter medications and their slang names.

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) recently released their report on drug slang code words. The list is a rather lengthy list dissecting many different names of drugs. It’s important because now families and friends can find the words their substance-abusing loved ones are using. It helps them be in-the-know instead of constantly being out of the loop when it comes drug culture.

Here’s a link the DEA report.

Drug cultures is one of the deepest, most well-known cultures in the U.S. The culture also changes from region to region. For example, someone in Detroit, Michigan might use different drug names than someone in Austin, Texas. The fact that there are so many different names just proves how deep the drug culture is around the country. Following is a list of different drugs, what they are and some names.

Commonly Abused Substances and the Slang Drug Names

Commonly abused substances can be categorized in terms of how they work and the effects they produce in the human body and brain. The following is a list of drugs based on common categories and the slang words for drugs used by drug dealers and users:


Opioids are drugs that act in the opioid receptors in human brains producing various levels of sedation and pain relief. These are doctor-prescribed but once abused, it is highly intoxicating and addictive. In effect, several governments have decided to restrict the use and distribution of prescription opioids. Nevertheless, people, especially the young ones, gain access to these prescription drugs in their medicine cabinets at home. Some people also consider prescription drugs to be safer compared to illicit drugs so they opt to use opioids instead.

In 2012, around 2.1 million people in America were reported by the NIDA to have been addicted by opioids.

The following are the opioid drugs commonly abused and the slang names used to refer to these drugs:

  • Heroin. Heroin is also called the white horse, china white, dope, black stuff, brown sugar, golden girls, and black stuff
  • Codeine. Codeine is also famous as cody, syrup, schoolboy, purple drank, fours, doors, lean, and loads.
  • Vicodin. Vicodin is also known as vikes, hydros, vikos, tabs, Watsons, lorries, and 357s.
  • OxyContin. OxyContin is also famous as the ox, OC, Oxy, kickers, hillbilly heroin, blues, the 80s, and 40s.
  • Fentanyl. Fentanyl is also known as China town, China girl, tango and cash, murder eight, king ivory, friends, Goodfellas, dance fever, great bear, Apache, jackpot, He-Man, and perc-a-pop.
  • Opana. Opana is also famous as Pink O, the O bomb, Mrs. O, pink, pink heaven, pink lady, blues, blue heaven, oranges, stops signs, and octagons.

The slang names of drugs are commonly based on their shape, color, and consistency. The common forms of heroin are powder and they either come in brown or in white. Some also come in the form of a sticky, black substance like the tar.


Crack cocaine, cocaine, and methamphetamine or meth are easily referred to as stimulants. These often overlap with the club drugs. Some prescription stimulants which are for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD patients are also abused, mostly by students. students use it to stay alert in tackling large class loads. The non-medical use of these drugs is dangerous because it can lead to drug overdose and addiction.

The common slang terms for stimulants are the following:

  • Cocaine. Cocaine is famous as blow, base, coke, powder, bump, line, rail, stash, snow, dust, flake, candy, white pearl, baseball, and yeyo.

Cocaine commonly comes in a white, powdered form and are usually laid out in a thin, white line. These substances are snorted.

  • Meth. Meth is also known as speed, trash, crank, garbage, gak, dunk, chalk, tweek, cookies, uppers, rocket fuel, no doze, Scooby snacks, white cross, pookie, go-go-juice, Christina, go fast, and Tina.

Meth is a highly addictive substance which comes in a glassy and crystalline appearance. This substance is not naturally occurring which is unlike cocaine. It is prepared by cooking together dangerous and volatile chemicals.

  • Ritalin. Ritalin is known as rids, R pop, ritties, vitamin R, kiddy coke, R-ball, diet coke, skippy, jif, pineapple, study buddies, skitties, smart drug, west coast, and smarties.

This prescription medication for ADHD patients is widely abused by college students. They take Ritalin, Adderall, and other similar medications without the proper prescription. These substances are used to aid in concentration and to keep them awake for long periods as they cram for their finals.

  • Adderall. Adderall is also known as red dexies, blue pill, red pep, black beauties, beans, bennies, copilots, lid poppers, wake-ups, and truck drivers.
  • Amphetamine. Amphetamines are also known as bennies, dexies, AMP, pep pills, uppers, black beauties, and wake-ups.

study at the University of Maryland revealed that 35.6 percent of the students have non-medically used prescription stimulants in their lifetime. Around 10.8 percent have used drugs like Ritalin and Adderall in the previous year.

Club Drugs

These are the common slang terms for the following club drugs:

  • MDMA or ecstasy. Ecstasy is also known as, E-bombs, E, Malcolm, Molly, Adam, hug drug, love drug, candy, sweets, beans, egg rolls, disco biscuits, doves, dancing shoes, thizz, happy pills, and vowels.
  • Ketamine. Ketamine is also famous as K, super K, special K, vitamin K, cat valium, kit kat, cat tranquilizers, jet, and purple.
  • GHB. GHB is also famous as G, grievous bodily harm, Georgia homeboy, scoop, water, liquid ecstasy, salty water, soap, everclear, easy lay, cherry meth, fantasy, and G-riffick.
  • Rohypnol. Rohypnol are also famous as roopies, roofies, ruffies, ropies, rope, rib, circles, rophy, roach-2, and Mexican valium.


According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, around 15 percent of Americans 12 and above have used hallucinogen at least once in their whole lifetimes. Hallucinogenic substances are less likely to cause addiction compared to other drugs.

Nevertheless, it remains dangerous, especially if taken in high dosage and without supervision. It causes negative experiences which are referred to as bad trips. There are instances wherein the users see terrifying things which can cause panic and intense fear. This may lead to depression and suicidal tendencies.

The common slang names of hallucinogens include the following:

  • Marijuana. Also called cannabis, marijuana is also known as weed, grass, pot, ganja, Mary Jane, Mary, MJ, kiff, hash, hay, bud, cheeba, stems, flower, and skunk.
  • LSD. Famous as acid, Lucy, L, dots, gel, blotter, hawk, purple haze, fry, tab, flash, trips, cheer, stars, blaze, rainbows, pyramid, smilies, window, and Superman.
  • Psilocybin mushrooms. These drugs are also called magic mushrooms, shrooms, mushies, magics, buttons, caps, boomers, silly putty, musk, and simple Simon.
  • DMT. The slang terms include DET, 45-minute psychosis, AMT, fantasia, businessman’s trip, Dimitri, and businessman’s special.
  • Peyote. Also famous as half moon, hikori, bad seed, and P.
  • PCP. These are also famous as boat, zoom, angel dust, and belladonna.
  • Salvia. The slang drug name includes magic mint, ska pastora, leaves, and la hembra.


The following are the drugs and the slang names that belong to the category of depressants:

  • Alcohol. Alcohol is also called juice, sauce, hard stuff, hooch, draft, vino, suds, and liquid courage.
  • Benzodiazepines. These drugs are also called in slang language as benzos, stupefy, BZDs, tranx, valley girl, heavenly blues, goofballs, z bars, moggies, and sleepers.
  • Barbiturates. Barbiturates are also famous as yellows, yellow jackets, red birds, reds devils, red, tooies, barbs, and phennies.

Over-The-Counter Drugs

Over-the-counter (OTC) medication abuse has rapidly increased in the past decades. The following are the drugs under this category and the slang terms used to refer to them:

  • Cough and cold medicine. The slang terms for a cough and cold medicines include triple C or CCC, dex, DXM, robo (Robitussin), orange crush, syrup, and velvet syrup or velvet.
  • Caffeine pills. Also known as C pills, java pills, and the caf.

This list of slang names of commonly abused drugs is expected to change over time. Keep up with the changes and help in curving out the drug menace in our society. Help the parents and the police officers by informing them of the changes in the slang drug names that you may have observed in your community.


Amphetamines are drugs that elevate someone’s mood. They can be used to stay up and study or they can be used to go on a trip. The most common types of amphetamines are Adderall and methamphetamine.

Some common names are:

Amps; Bam; B-Bombs; Beans; Bennies; Benz; Black and Whites; Black Beauties; Black Birds; Black Bombers; Brain Ticklers; Dexies; Diamonds; Diet Pills; Dolls; Drivers; Footballs; Head Drugs; Horse Heads; Little Bombs; Morning Shot; Nuggets; Oranges; Pep Pills; Pixies; Rippers; Snaps; Sparklers; Speed; Splash; Sweeties; Sweets; Truck Drivers; Uppers; Wake Ups; White Crosses; Zoomers


Cocaine is the white powdery drug that lots of people use for energy. It’s a stimulant like amphetamines, but they function quite differently. And the culture around cocaine is very much different than the one around amphetamines.

Some common names are:

Angel Powder; Baby Powder; Big C; Blow; BMW; Bobo; Bolitas; Bolivian Marching Powder; Cadillac; Candy; Car; Coca; Coca-Cola; Cocazo; Coke; Heaven Dust; Nose Candy; Nose Powder; Old Lady; Pillow; Powder; Snow Cone; Snow White; Sugar; Superman; White; White Bitch; White Cross; White Girl; White Goat; White Powder; White Root


Heroin is the drug that’s been very popular in the news now. It’s killing people all over the country because it’s a cheap alternative to prescription opioids. It’s rather easy to overdose on the drug, which is why it’s so scary.

Some common names are:

Antifreeze; Big H; Black Sheep; Black Tar; Blow Dope; Cement; Charlie; Charlie Horse; Cheese; China; China Cat;China White; Dope; Fairy Dust; Smack; Heaven Dust; Hot Dope; Mexican Brown; Mexican Horse; Smack; Tar; White; White Boy; White Girl; White Junk; White Lady; White Nurse; White Shirt


Marijuana is the popular green plant that hippies and the youth have been using for decades. Despite the number of people that use marijuana, it’s still an illegal drug and can become addictive.

Some common names are:

420; Dank; Ganja; Grass; Hash; Hemp; Herb; KGB; Kush; Laughing Grass; M.J.; Mary Jane; Maui Wowie Pot; Purple Haze; Trees; Wacky Tobacky; Wake and Bake; Weed

If there is someone using drugs, there is so much to look out for. Just some of these names might be the first sign.

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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