Parents of teens who are at risk for drug abuse are sometimes overwhelmed by the culture and terminology that is common in modern social situations. The language that teens use reflects the things they are exposed to on a daily basis. Popular names for common drugs are extremely important to be familiar with when it comes to keeping an eye on behavior.

Modern kids and teens are faced with the same difficult situations and choices of past generations. The risks are just as harsh, but terminology has changed. Drug names meet the demands of a changing culture, but are still dangerous for today’s youth. Knowing street names for common drugs is powerful when identifying their influences in a teen’s life.


Cocaine is a less popular drug among teens now that other available stimulants are more readily available. In decades past, it was referred to as blow, snow, sugar, and Mexican ice. This drug is still relatively expensive compared to other street drugs, and its effects are easily recognizable. Teens using cocaine are non-typically hyperactive, aggressive, and drawn to social environments where there is little adult interaction.


Diamorphine, or heroin is also known as smack, gato, junk, hero, and dragon in younger populations. This drug produces a powerful euphoric effect. For this reason, it is preferred by young people as a way to reduce stress.


Simple terms that are thrown around by younger crowds regarding this drug are benzos, candy, and roofies. These drugs gained their reputation as “date rape” drugs because of their prevalence in social environments. They are commonly distributed as pills and powders, are inexpensive, and accompany lifestyle choices surrounding night club atmospheres.


Mary-J, pot, weed, and herb is the most popular social drug among young people. This narcotic is becoming more and more available because of state-to-state legalization and proliferation. Young people who regularly use marijuana have poor hygiene skills, and show visible physical traits like continual lethargy, disconnectedness, and erratic sleep patterns.


Teens who are involved in night club and party atmospheres are exposed to drugs like MDMA. This hallucinogenic drug is commonly known as ecstasy, Mandy, and Molly. Young people are drawn to this drug because it intensifies physical sensory responses. Euphoria and touch sensitivity is increased with this drug, but so are intense periods of withdrawal. MDMA is normally distributed in pill form, so it is very easy to hide and trade. Teens who regularly take MDMA have unusually high attractions to party scenes, exotic forms of music, and other stimuli.


Though this hallucinogenic drug had its heyday in the past, it is still popular with today’s youth. This is because those who manufacture LSD are continually discovering ways to make it more powerful. Contemporary names for LSD include acid, dot, and California Sunshine. LSD can cause extreme shifts in personality that are obvious to family members.


This highly destructive drug permeates every sector of modern society. Its use is common in teens who come from affluent households, and those who are raised in poorer neighborhoods. Meth can be produced using common household materials. For this reason, people who use meth are at risk for poisoning and toxification that reaches beyond the drug’s intended effects. Meth is a stimulant that produces a cocaine-like high. It attacks the body’s nervous and immune systems very quickly. Common street names for meth are ice, crank, speed, and crystal.


Most teens who abuse opioids start using them because of availability. These prescription-grade drugs are commonly distributed by the medical community to fight legitimate pain needs in patients. Once a person experiences the effects of opioids, an addiction can be triggered very easily. Teens are especially at risk of opioid abuse because they are often available in the home. Any dialogue that involves the mention of oxy, perc, vicodin, codeine, and fentanyl is a sign of opioid use and abuse.


Any chemical used in industrial production can be used as an inhalant drug. These chemicals are inhaled purposefully into the lungs, but radically affect the brain and nervous system. Teens who are using canister inhalants exhibit traits like jumpiness and certain sensory overloads. The activity of inhaling drugs is often done in private, and creates the antisocial need to be alone. Inhalants are diverse and are known as whippets, poppers, bolt, dust, and quicksilver.


“Shrooms” are a controversial drug. They are popular in the alternative medical community, but have their place as a popular street drug. Their hallucinogenic affect is less than drugs like LSD, but they can create intense addictions. They are consumed in food-like form and are relatively inexpensive. For these reasons, they are popular in teen circles. People who regularly use “magic mushrooms” use terms like stems, caps, mushies, and boomers in their speech.

Teens who are using common street drugs have the disadvantage of little life experience. Any use of drugs will inevitably manifest in personal habits that are evident to friends and family members. Parents should watch social behaviors, personal hygiene habits, and activity choices to gain clues regarding any form of drug abuse. Conversation patterns can also reveal extremely important clues about drug involvement. As drug culture changes, so does nomenclature. Never dismiss casual talk about drugs by young people.