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Common Street Names for Drugs You Need to Know

silhouette of a woman standing in the street as a metaphor for street names for drugs
silhouette of a woman standing in the street as a metaphor for street names for drugs

What’s Inside:

  • Overview of street names for drugs, crucial for understanding drug-related conversations.
  • Insight into street slang for selling drugs and the street name for a drug dealer.
  • Comprehensive list of nicknames for various drug categories including benzos, hallucinogens, opioids, stimulants, and more.

Understanding the street names for drugs can be crucial for parents, educators, and healthcare professionals to recognize when a conversation or behavior involves substance use. This knowledge helps in identifying potential drug use, providing timely interventions, and understanding the vernacular often used by individuals involved in substance abuse. Here’s an extensive overview of common slang terms across various drug categories.

Dextromethorphan (DXM)

  • Street names for dextromethorphan include Robo, Triple C, Skittles, and Dex. These names reference the popular over-the-counter cold and cough medications that contain DXM, which is often abused by teenagers for its dissociative effects.


  • Once commonly prescribed for anxiety and sleep disorders, street names for barbiturates drugs include Barbs, Red Devils, Phennies, and Yellow Jackets. These drugs can depress the central nervous system to dangerous levels when abused.

Cold Medicine

  • Over-the-counter cold remedies are often misused for their psychoactive effects. Street names for cold medicine include terms like Candy, Red Devils, and Drank, which typically refer to cough syrups mixed with soda or alcohol for recreational use.

Misused Prescription Drugs

  • Common street names for misuse prescription drugs cover a wide range, including Blues for depressants, Cotton for opioids (referring to the cotton filters used when dissolving pills for injection), and Study Buddies or Smart Pills for prescription stimulants used to enhance academic performance.

Drug Selling Slang

  • Street slang for selling drugs includes terms like Pushing, Moving, or Running; while a street name for a drug dealer might be Plug or Connect, indicating someone who can provide illegal substances.


  • Street names for benzos typically refer to their effects or their brand names, such as Bars for Xanax, Tranks for tranquilizers, and Benzos broadly for any benzodiazepine. These are sedative medications used primarily for treating anxiety but are highly addictive.


  • Street names for hallucinogens include Acid for LSD, Shrooms for mushrooms, and Dots for LSD tabs. These substances cause profound changes in perception, streetmood, and thought, often referred to by colorful, seemingly innocuous names.

Illicit Drugs

  • Street names for illicit drugs broadly include Gear, Dope, Junk, and Stash, depending on the context and the specific drug being referred to. These terms are often used interchangeably among different drug communities.


  • Inhalants, often household items, carry names like Whippets (for nitrous oxide), Poppers (for alkyl nitrites), and Huff (generic term for inhaling vapors). These are used by those seeking a quick and often hazardous high by inhaling chemical vapors.


  • The opioid crisis has its own vernacular with street names for opioids including Smack for heroin, Oxys for oxycodone, and Vikes for Vicodin. These powerful pain relievers have high potential for addiction and abuse.

Over-the-Counter Drugs

  • Even legal drugs have street names when misused; street names for over the counter drugs include Tussin, Skittles, and Triple Cs, reflecting common products containing DXM or pseudoephedrine, which are often abused for a high.


  • Street names for stimulants include Uppers, Bennies for amphetamines, and Coke for cocaine. These substances increase activity within the brain and can lead to increased energy and alertness, but also to dangerous physical and psychological effects.

Sleeping Pills

  • Street names for sleeping pills include Barbs (a crossover with barbiturates) and Z-Bombs for drugs like Ambien. These are often used non-medically to induce sleep or for the ‘high’ they can provide.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction, recognizing the street names for drugs is just the first step towards addressing the problem. At Uplift Recovery, we offer comprehensive support and treatment programs to help combat addiction. Contact us at 866-979-5848 for more information and to start on the path to recovery. We provide the tools and support necessary for overcoming addiction and rebuilding a healthier life. Don’t hesitate to reach out and take the first step towards a new beginning.

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