List of Street and Slang Terms for Popular Drugs
Beginning in 1975, Monitoring the Future has conducted an annual study of how many individuals, including school-aged children, use drugs, what kinds of drugs they use and when they use them. In one recent study, they found that 0.8% of eighth graders in the United States had used heroin at least once in the year prior to the survey.
Parents are continually struggling to understand the world in which their children live and the challenges they face. One way to be aware of what is happening in the lives of our children is to understand their language, including slang as it refers to the street names for the drugs children may already have been exposed to.
Here is a list of popular drugs and the street names they are known by.
Many parents forget that tobacco products contain nicotine, which is a drug. Many children and teens who begin smoking early are more likely to try drugs or alcohol while they are still in school. The common street names for tobacco products include:
- Ciggs, smokes, butts: Regular tobacco cigarettes
- Chew, spit, snuff, snus, dip: Dipping or chewing tobacco
- Narghile, shisha, argileh, hubble-bubble, goza: Hookah (non-filtered smoke from a water-based smoking device)
Opiates can include prescription drugs as well as heroin. The common street names for prescription drugs popular among teens include:
- Hillbilly heroin
- Tabs (short for Lortab)
- Vikes (short for Vicodin)
- Percs (short for Percocet)
- Happy pills
Heroin is an opiate, but because of the popularity of this dangerous drug and the non-pill form in which it is used, it has street names of its own.
The street names for heroin include:
- Black tar
Depressants include several categories of medications, including barbiturates like Nembutol, benzodiazepines like Xanax or Valium, and sleep medication, which can include over-the-counter or prescription medications.
- Barbiturates are called yellow jackets, yellows, red birds, reds, Barbs, Tooies and phennies.
- Benzodiazepines are called candy, downers, sleeping pills, tranks or bars.
- Sleeping pills are called A-minus or zombie pills.
Stimulants are used in the treatment of common childhood or teenage conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and are often readily available to teens. Slang for stimulants includes:
- Skippy the smart drug
- Vitamin R (Ritalin)
- Hearts or roses
- Black beauties
While cocaine has declined in popularity since its hey-day in the 1980s, it is still widely available and used by both teens and adults. There are many slang terms for cocaine, including:
- Crack, specifically the form of rock cocaine that is smoked rather than injected or inhaled
Methamphetamines are available in two distinctly common forms – crystal and powder. Each has their own set of street names.
- Go fast
Marijuana has seen an increase in use among young people in recent years, after a decline following the counter-culture drug movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Marijuana is known by a wide array of slang names:
- Mary Jane
This list encompasses the most popular drugs used by teens and adults around the country. For more information on these and other drugs, please visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse.