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Drug Slang Terms and Code Words in Use Today

Updated on January 17, 2019
Casey White profile image

Dorothy is a Master Gardener, former newspaper reporter, and the author of several books. Michael is a landscape/nature photographer in NM.

Bust Results in Lots of Oxycodone (AKA Blues, Buttons, Cotton Greens, Hillbilly Heroin, Kickers, Killers, Muchachas, and Many More)

Narcotics officers in Knoxville, Tennessee,  recently found 1,059 oxycodone and opana pills hidden throughout a house. They also found $61,511 in cash, two handguns (one was stolen), two shotguns, and a stolen motorcycle.
Narcotics officers in Knoxville, Tennessee, recently found 1,059 oxycodone and opana pills hidden throughout a house. They also found $61,511 in cash, two handguns (one was stolen), two shotguns, and a stolen motorcycle. | Source

Remember When Marijuana Was Just Weed?

I can remember the days when marijuana was usually called "weed" and cocaine was simply referred to as "coke." In the 1980's, Mike and I spent several years in law enforcement - he was a motorcycle traffic officer and I was a detective, so I figured between the two of us we knew a lot of terms for various drugs and paraphernalia. Boy, was I wrong! Neither of us ever worked in vice, but we certainly assisted them several times over the years on various drug busts, but there are literally hundreds of terms in this handbook that I've never heard of. I guess the times they are a'changin'.

According to the executive summary in the beginning of the handbook, it was designed "as a ready reference for law enforcement personnel who are confronted with hundreds of slang terms and code words used to identify a wide variety of controlled substances, designer drugs, synthetic compounds, measurements, locations, weapons, and other miscellaneous terms relevant to the drug trade".

The street names for the drugs listed below came directly out of the 2018 handbook.

Supplies for Methamphetamine (AKA Chalk, Witches Teeth, Chicken Powder, Mexican Crack, and Many More)

Items used in the manufacturing of methamphetamines.  This particular collection was seized in a 2013 raid in Ohio.
Items used in the manufacturing of methamphetamines. This particular collection was seized in a 2013 raid in Ohio. | Source

Amphetamines

Amphetamines are stimulant drugs that speed up the messages traveling between the brain and the body. They are, however, often used legally for various purposes; but illegally they are sought out because of their mood-altering characteristics. These days amphetamines are known by a variety of names and they are sold in powder form or as tablets, crystals or capsules. These are just a few of the street names for Amphetamines:

  • Black Beauties
  • Goofballs
  • Bumblebees
  • Brain Ticklers
  • Whiffle Dust
  • Horse Heads
  • Jelly Babies
  • Morning Shot
  • West Coast Turnarounds
  • French Blues

Cocaine

Cocaine is a stimulant drug that is powerfully addictive and can alter brain structure and function if used repeatedly. Coca leaves (the source of cocaine) have been chewed and ingested for many centuries, all because of their stimulant effects. Over a century ago, cocaine hydrochloride (the purified chemical) was the active ingredient in many medicines (tonics, elixers) that were developed for the treatment of many different illnesses. It was also an ingredient in Coca-Cola at one time. Surgeons used cocaine prior to the development of synthetic local anesthetics.

These are some of the names given to cocaine over the years (although there are literally hundreds of them):

  • Baby Powder
  • Rocky Mountain
  • Flea Market Jeans
  • White Mercedes Benz
  • Star Spangled Powder
  • Paradise White
  • Henry VIII
  • Clear Tires
  • California Pancakes
  • Movie Star Drug
  • Big Bird
  • Inca Message
  • Jump Rope


Fentanyl and Fentanyl Derivatives

Fentanyl is a highly-addictive controlled substance that can cause respiratory distress and death when taken in high doses. It is deadly when combined with other substances, such as alcohol or heroin. Unlike most of the other more familiar drugs, fentanyl only has a limited number of street names. These are some of them:

  • Apache
  • Blue Diamond
  • China Girl
  • Crazy One
  • Dance Fever
  • Dragon’s Breath
  • Great Bear
  • Gray Stuff
  • Heineken
  • Jackpot
  • King Ivory
  • Lollipop
  • Murder 8
  • Pharmacy
  • Poison
  • Tango and Cash
  • Toe Tag Dope

Heroin and Fentanyl

Pennsylvania State Police recently charged a man with selling a fatal blend of heroin and fentanyl.  In 2016, the drugs were sold to a 35-year-old man who later died. Fentanyl can cause respiratory distress and death when taken in high doses.
Pennsylvania State Police recently charged a man with selling a fatal blend of heroin and fentanyl. In 2016, the drugs were sold to a 35-year-old man who later died. Fentanyl can cause respiratory distress and death when taken in high doses. | Source

Heroin

Heroin is a highly addictive drug that is derived from morphine and sold as a white or brownish powder "cut" with various products like powdered milk, sugar or starch. Pure heroin has a bitter taste and is a white powder that usually and predominantly originates in either South America or Southeast Asia. It can be snorted or smoked, which makes it more appealing to new users who might be concerned about the stigma associated with "shooting up." Regardless of the way it gets into a person's body, it can be a deadly drug. These are some of the street names that have been given to heroin:

  • Beyonce
  • Chocolate Shake
  • Skunk
  • Mexican Mud
  • Helicopter
  • Fairy Dust
  • Tootsie Roll
  • Foolish Powder
  • Blow Dope
  • King’s Tickets

Marijuana "Joints"

Marijuana

Marijuana is a mind-altering, greenish-gray mixture of the dried flowers of Cannabis sativa. It can be smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes that are usually referred to as "joints." There are other ways to inhale it and get it into your system, such as in pipes. It can also be used to brew tea or mixed into foods like brownies. Some people are using vaporizers to consume this drug, which is either loved or hated by most people on the planet.

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana that is responsible for most of the intoxicating effects that people crave. Aside from the normal terms, "mary jane," and "weed", these are some of the street names that marijuana has been given over the years (again, there are hundreds):

  • Laughing Weed
  • Lime Pillows
  • Shrimp
  • Black Maria
  • Giggle Smoke
  • Grand Daddy Purp
  • Barbara Jean
  • Green Mercedes Benz
  • Platinum Jack
  • Young Girls


© 2019 Mike and Dorothy McKenney

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    • Casey White profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike and Dorothy McKenney 

      7 months ago from United States

      You are ahead of me. I was a police officer for six years and only was aware of very few of the street names...of course, that was in the early 1980's and the times, as they say, are a'changin' - Personally, I'm pretty happy to say that I don't "hang" with the people who would use such terms. Thanks for reading and for your insight.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      7 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Interesting list. I do not recognize many of the names and I know the streets well (for better, or worse).

      "The street names for the drugs listed below came directly out of the 2018 handbook" - Who authored this list? Haha!!

      Well, at least for cannabis we don't need code names anymore because it's legal, coast to coast but other controlled substances will continue to have code names. You don't wanna talk freely on the phone about such things, unless You wanna catch a case.

      Alrighty, fun read! Stay safe everyone!

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