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Substance Abuse and Drug Rehab Glossary: A – F

Does your teen get crunk? Has your husband or wife been chasing the dragon? Would you even know? When it comes to drug rehab and addiction, most substance abusers speak in barely-comprehensible slang. This practice can help people hide from law enforcement, but it may also keep their friends and loved ones from finding out about their drug habits. If you’re concerned that someone close to you is struggling with an addiction, you need to understand the following drug slang terms.

Adam: This term refers to Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, also known as MDMA or Ecstasy. A popular club drug, Adam makes people feel more connected to the people around them. It’s also a dangerous stimulant which raises users’ body temperatures and can cause dehydration and strokes.

Antifreeze: A common term for heroin. – one of the most dangerous and addictive drugs on the illicit market. People who use heroin may also try to hide their injection marks with long sleeves in warm weather.

Babysit: Even when people want to use illegal drugs, they’re often afraid of the potential effects. More experienced addicts will guide or “babysit” users through their first few uses of heroin, cocaine, or other dangerous substances.

Bank Bandit Pills: A class of depressants called barbiturates is commonly referred to as “bank bandit pills.” These drugs are often used for general anesthesia and even medically-assisted suicide. People who use them recreationally have been known to develop rapid addictions and suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms.

Base Head: Cocaine is usually consumed as its salt, cocaine hydrochloride. When smoked in its freebase form, it’s usually called crack. People addicted to crack cocaine are therefore referred to as “baseheads.”

Bathtub Crank: Methamphetamines are often called “crank” because of their extreme stimulant effects. Meth dealers tend homebrew the substance in bathtubs, sinks, or other makeshift devices. This practice results in an impure, contaminated product of unknown concentration.

Chasing the Dragon: Usually used in reference to heroin or other opiates, this term refers to the constant desire to get high. When people first use heroin, they experience incredible feelings of euphoria. Chemical dependency aside, they often “chase” that feeling by continuing to use ever-larger amounts.

Cheese: This is a potentially deadly combination of heroin and cough medicines – a cheaper way for some people to experience the euphoric effects of opiates. Its name comes from its shredded cheese-like appearance, and most people snort it – rather than inject it.

Coco-Puffs: Some cocaine users will lace tobacco or marijuana cigarettes with cocaine to make “coco-puffs.” Many people who do this say that smoking cocaine causes a stronger high than snorting it – similar to the instant high produced by crack.

DXM: Short for dextromethorphan, DXM is the active ingredient in many over-the-counter cough and cold medicines. Although the recommended dose is between twenty and thirty milligrams, teens will often consume a gram or more to feel powerful hallucinogenic effects.

Dry Drunk: Someone who has completed a drug rehab program but still displays signs of intoxication. This phenomenon is usually caused by Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome – a condition which produces a myriad of physical and mental problems.

Five-Dollar Bag: Despite the name, this actually refers to fifty dollars’ worth of drugs. Drug dealers and customers alike may use this vague term to avoid detection by police.

Some of these names may sound ridiculous, but addiction is a serious matter – especially when people are trying to hide it. If you suspect that your teenager, friend, or relative is struggling with a drug habit, you need to get help as soon as possible. Call the number at the top of your screen for a toll-free consultation, and learn how drug rehab can help your loved ones.

About The Contributor
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More