Heroin Street NamesAnna Ciulla
The frightening statistics of heroin addiction and misuse, not to mention the increasing number of heroin overdose deaths, is enough to strike fear into parents of adolescents and teens. Being able to detect heroin and other drug use in your children is not something to dismiss as irrelevant to your family, believing it could never happen to your son or daughter. As with other important aspects of good parenting, you should make it a point to learn as much as you can about substance abuse and the various drugs of abuse, such as heroin, their street names, how they’re used, how to identify if your teen is using, and how to talk to your teen about drug use.
Street Names for Heroin
Parents trying to determine whether their teenage son or daughter is using illicit drugs of abuse, such as heroin—one of the most dangerous, illegal and highly-addictive drugs—face a difficult task. Not only are teens skillful at hiding their drug use from unsuspecting parents, but adolescents are also adept at cloaking drug use by referring to substances with various names. Many of the street names for heroin sound innocuous, while others may be familiar to adults who may have heard them on the news or have first-hand knowledge of drug use and substances of abuse in the community. Some heroin street names have been around for years, while new ones continue to pop up as the slang terminology for heroin evolves.
Here are some of the common heroin street names and nicknames for parents to become familiar with. While just hearing one of them now and then does not automatically mean your teen is using heroin, it may indicate knowledge of the drug and its pervasiveness among your son or daughter’s peers, in the school, or in the community at large.
- Big H
- Black pearl
- Black tar
- Brown crystal
- Brown sugar
- China white (Fentanyl and heroin)
- Hell dust
- Mexican brown
- Mexican mud
- White boy
- White girl
- White horse
- White lady
- White stuff
Slang Terms for Heroin Mixed with Other Drugs
In addition, heroin is often mixed or combined with other drugs of abuse. These potent illicit drug combos have their own slang terms. For example:
- Bars – It’s not always nutrition bars a teen may be referring to, but the combination of heroin and alprazolam.
- Beast – The combination of heroin and Xanax is also called LBJ.
- Belushi – Also called boy-girl, he-she, dynamite, H/C, primo or snowball, these terms refer to heroin and cocaine combined.
- Cheese – Not a nutritious snack, cheese on the street refers to heroin plus cold medicine.
- Chocolate chip cookies (also called H bomb) – Sounds harmless, right? Yet, this is a street name for a mix of heroin and ecstasy.
- Chocolate rock (and dragon rock, moon rock, Eightball) – This potent combo is heroin and crack.
- Meth speedball – A deadly combination of heroin and methamphetamine.
- New Jack Swing and Cotton Brothers – Nothing to do with music, this combo is heroin and morphine.
- The Five Way – This potentially lethal combination is heroin plus methamphetamine, cocaine, Rohypnol and alcohol.
- Woola, woolie, woo-woo (also atom bomb and canade) – This strange-sounding slang term is the identifier for combining heroin and marijuana.
What Heroin Use is Called on the Street
Not surprisingly, the street has common names for the practice of using heroin. The first one is likely familiar to parents from movies and news accounts of heroin use and addiction. The others may not be terms parents have heard — but should be aware of:
- Chasing the dragon
- Channel swimmer
- Daytime and evening (refers to a heroin high and coming down from heroin, respectively)
- Dip and dab
- Do up
- Firing the ack-ack gun
- Give wings
- Jolly pop
- Mainlining (injecting heroin directly into a vein)
- Skin popping (refers to subcutaneous injection of heroin)
What Is Heroin and How Is It Used?
Heroin is an illicit opiate drug of abuse that is made from morphine, which is a natural substance that comes from the seed pod of opium poppy plants. There is no current medical usage for heroin, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Heroin is classified as a Schedule I drug, which means there is no currently accepted medical use and the drug carries a high risk of addiction.
What Does Heroin Look Like?
Heroin may be white, brown or black in color, with slight variations in shade in the white and brown versions. Heroin usually has a powdery consistency. Heroin can be made into an injectable substance. Black heroin looks like tar and generally is sticky or gooey. Purer heroin is becoming available, although much heroin available on the street is “cut” with substances such as starch, sugar, quinine or powdered milk.
How Is Heroin Used?
Parents may be surprised to learn that heroin use no longer requires a needle. Today’s high-potency heroin can be snorted or smoked, in addition to the historically used method of injecting the drug. Snorting or smoking heroin is increasingly popular because it is easier to use, which makes it more appealing to new heroin users and current users.
In addition, heroin on the street today may be combined or mixed with other illicit drugs. Heroin and crack cocaine use is called speedballing.
Heroin is a highly addictive drug, both physically and psychologically, due to the fact that it enters the human brain so rapidly. Effects include a feeling of euphoria or a “rush,” followed by a “Twilight” state of sleep and wakefulness.
How Can You Tell If Your Teen Is Using Heroin?
Signs of heroin use can be overlapping and may be confused with symptoms of other conditions or drug use (particularly in the case of using a combination of drugs). Look for signs of the following in a teen you may suspect of using heroin:
- Depressed mood
- Euphoria – periods of highs followed by coming down from the drug
- Behavior changes
- Plummeting school or work performance
- Physical indicators, including abscesses, nasal ulcerations, and collapsed veins
Also be on the lookout for drug paraphernalia common in heroin use, including pipes, small spoons or bottle caps (used to cook heroin), cotton balls (used in filtering heroin), small strips of tin foil (used in smoking heroin), straws or small tubes, and needles.
Since heroin users have no idea of the strength or purity of the drug, they’re at high risk of overdose and death. Heroin overdose symptoms include:
- Blue lips and fingernails
- Clammy skin
- Slow and shallow breathing
- The possibility of death
How to Talk to Your Teen About Drug Use
Information about heroin street names, how heroin is used, and how to tell if your teen is using can give parents helpful background to initiate and continue talking with their teen about the dangers of drugs.
Additionally, the DEA is a good resource for how to talk to your teen about drug use. Helpful tips include:
- Explain drugs’ dangers in clear language teens understand.
- State why you don’t want your teens using drugs (for example, that drugs can interfere with concentration, affect mood and memory, and result in poor grades).
- Be available whenever your teen expresses interest or desire to talk about drug use. This may come at an inconvenient time, but do make time to talk with your teen.
- Provide praise to your teen when it’s deserved. This helps boost self-confidence and self-esteem critical to making good decisions.
- Avoid getting angry, even if your teen says something you find shocking.
- Conversations won’t always go smoothly with your teen when discussing drug use, so don’t expect that they will.
- While you might think your teen knows how to resist peer pressure to use drugs or how to avoid and/or handle the temptation, they may not. Here is where role-playing may help in educating teens about drug risks and avoiding the temptation to use.
- If you don’t know the answer to a question your teen asks, instead of ad-libbing or making something up, say you don’t know but will get the answer. Make sure you follow through on your promise to provide the answer.
For related information, see these articles:
- Heroin and the Brain: What Everyone Should Know About the Drug’s Scary, Long-Term Side Effects
- Speedballing: Cocaine & Heroin’s Deadly Combination
- Heroin Detox: What You Need to Know
- Signs of Heroin Abuse
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