Drug slang is any non-medical term for a substance, whether drugs or alcohol. This could be creative, new names or abbreviations for otherwise well-known substances that allow for them to be discussed without outside parties knowing. While new slang for drugs and alcohol can emerge, some terms are more well-known than others.
Drug slang is most found in pop culture and is associated with the youth. It emerges because of censorship, whether for songs or shows to be played publicly or to hide drug abuse or addiction. 1
Because drug slang is often only known in niche communities, the public may not understand references. This can also make it difficult for parents to know whether their children participate in substance abuse.
Substance abuse and drug addiction can strain relationships and make it difficult to connect with loved ones. That’s why it’s important to familiarize yourself with common drug slang to recognize possible substance use disorders and help your loved ones seek treatment sooner.
It is important to know the most common slang terms for substances. They will be detailed below.
Marijuana is a natural substance derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. It is most often dried and smoked, but chemicals can be derived from the plant and included in food, known as edibles.2 Marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol are the most common substances responsible for teen substance abuse. 3
Some of the drug slang terms for marijuana include:
Cocaine is an expensive and dangerous substance that comes from the leaves of the coca plant (Erythroxylon coca). For many indigenous people in South America, coca leaves are an important part of their culture for their stimulant effects, which they utilized for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Eventually, scientists were able to isolate the chemical compound of cocaine for medication and later an illicit substance. 4
Some of the drug slang terms for cocaine include:
Heroin is a type of opioid or narcotic. Like many other opioids, it is derived from morphine, an opiate (an all-natural type of opioid) from the opium poppy plant. While there are some legal opioids used as prescription medication for severe or chronic pain, heroin is illegal due to the dangers associated with the substance.
Some of the drug slang terms for heroin include:
Like cocaine, amphetamines are a stimulant substance. This means they speed up the processes and interactions inside the brain.
However, unlike cocaine, some amphetamines can be used in medicine. They are most used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. They can also be used as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease.
Amphetamines are commonly abused by teens and college-aged youth due to their use as a “study drug.” Many people will abuse amphetamines to do more in a shorter time.
Drug slang terms for amphetamines can include:
Methamphetamine is a more potent version of amphetamine. It is a Schedule II substance, which means it has a high risk for addiction, commonly prescribed for ADHD. However, it is also taken illicitly for its stimulant effects. You may know methamphetamine as “meth.”
Some of the drug slang terms you may find for methamphetamines include:
3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) has many names. Some of the more notable ones are ecstasy or molly. MDMA is often found in party scenes, and it can cause major changes in behavior as it behaves in ways like both a stimulant and a hallucinogenic.
Ecstasy can come in many forms, and it has just as many, if not more, slang words to covertly describe this substance.
Some of the drug slang terms for ecstasy or MDMA include:
50% of teenagers have abused some sort of drug at least once. Many times, teen drug abuse goes unknown to the parents, especially when teenagers develop and use slang for substances. If you notice changes in your child’s behaviors, or if you notice them discussing these slang terms with their friends, it may signify that they need drug or alcohol treatment. 5
While the idea of your child abusing drugs or alcohol may be upsetting, treatment is available — both inpatient and outpatient — to help restore balance to your family.
Substance abuse disorder can strain you and your relationships with your loved ones, especially when they are your child. At Genesis Recovery, you’ll find a private escape with 24-hour nursing staff and the resources for individualized care geared to bolstering a successful recovery from drugs or alcohol. Genesis offers a variety of treatment plans, along with treatments and methods to help during detox and withdrawal symptom management.
Seeking recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction can be daunting, but at Genesis Recovery, we’ll guide you not only through your first steps into recovery but the entire detox and sobriety process through our faith-based approach.