Teen Drug Slang: What Parents Need to Know

Home > Teen Drug Slang: What Parents Need to Know

Robo, Skittles, skag, snowbirds—these terms sound fairly harmless, but they’re actually slang terms for dangerous drugs.  With prescription drug abuse among teens at an alarming high, it’s important for parents to listen carefully for use of subtle slang terms like these among teens.  The more parents understand about these terms the more they will be able to monitor their kids’ behavior and intervene if they suspect a problem.   Here we outline some of the most commonly used drug slang terms used today:


Dex:  Some commonly abused drugs today are found in cough syrups and other cold medicines.  In fact, abuse of pseudoephedrine to make methamphetamine has become such a problem that cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine are now only available behind the counter in many areas.  The drug dextromethorphan (DXM) contained in over-the-counter cough suppressants becomes a hallucinogen in doses larger than 900 milligrams. Some synonyms for this drug are Dex, Red Devils, Robo, Skittles and Tussin.


Big H:  Prescription opioid abuse has made headlines in recent years and has led thousands of young people into heroin abuse.  Some less commonly known synonyms for heroin include golden girls, H, tar, sweet dreams, brown sugar and train.

Special K:  Ketamine is an anesthetic used in humans and animals that can cause hallucinations and euphoria in higher doses. Synonyms for this drug include vitamin K, breakfast cereal, cat valium, and horse tranquilizer.


Kibbles and bits: The attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drug called Ritalin. It is sometimes also referred to as pineapple, says Pollock.


Candy flipping: This term refers to combining LSD (acid) with ecstasy.


Roll:  Ecstasy users often refer to “rolling” as being high on 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). Synonyms for this drug include lovers speed, essence, stacy, X, bean, and E.


Cheese:  This term refers to a dangerous mix of black tar heroin and Tylenol PM that looks like grated parmesan cheese—hence the name.


These terms change and evolve over time, and while it may be impossible to know everything, being in the know as much as possible will bring you closer to intervening if you suspect a problem with your teen.  Northbound Treatment Services specializes in treating substance abuse disorders at its fully staffed rehab treatment center.  To view our comprehensive program and services, visit our website.

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