Drug Substance “Slang” You Should Know

Drug Substance Slang You Should Know

Many addictive substances have entire subcultures – complete with specialized terminology to distinguish those “in the know” from outsiders – surrounding them. Learning these words and phrases can give you insight into the addict’s world and help you recognize and better understand their behavior. The terms below are only a small sample of the vocabulary associated with marijuana, cocaine, and heroin.


  • Hit: To take a puff from a cigarette or pipe.

  • Dusting: Adding another drug (like heroin or PCP) to marijuana)

  • Munchies: A common side effect of marijuana use, intense hunger and/or cravings.

  • Shotgun: When one user exhales after taking a hit and another user inhales the smoke that the other produces.

  • Snowcap: To sprinkle cocaine over marijuana before taking a hit from a bong.

  • Wet Daddy: To dip a joint or cigarette into a liquid, usually embalming fluid, and lace it with PCP. Also called wet, crazy Eddie, purple rain, water-water, drank, and illy.

  • Candy Blunt: A cigar is laced with marijuana then dipped in codeine-type cough syrup.

  • Hookah: Also called a hubbly bubbly, a pipe that is used to smoke marijuana or tobacco.

  • Tea head: Someone who frequently uses marijuana.


  • Snow Lights: Visual hallucinations that occur after heavy use causing flickering at the edge of the user’s field of vision.

  • Speedball: Injecting a combination of heroin and cocaine.

  • Bunk: Fake cocaine.

  • Blow Smoke: To administer cocaine by inhaling it.

  • Body Packer: Someone who swallows packaged cocaine to transport it.

  • Behind the Scale: To be a dealer; to weigh cocaine and sell it.

  • Chalked Up: High on cocaine.

  • Sandwich: A layer of heroin between two layers of between two layers of cocaine.

  • Coke Bugs:When the user has a tactile hallucination that bugs are digging into their skin.


  • Cotton Shooter: Cotton is used to filter heroin. A cotton shooter is an addict who injects the residue from the cotton in a desperate attempt to not waste any heroin.

  • Give Wings: To teach someone else (someone new to the habit) to inject heroin or to inject them directly.

  • Chasing the Dragon: When heroin is heated and the vapors produced are inhaled.

  • Monkey on the Back: To be addicted to heroin.

  • Tap the bags: When a dealer adulterates the substance or removes a certain amount, thereby short-changing the customer.

  • Super Flu: Heroin withdrawal symptoms.

  • Eight Ball: Crack and heroin mixed together.

  • Cook: Prepare heroin for injection by mixing it with water and heating it.

  • Take-off Artists: Heroin users who steal heroin from other users.

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