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Street Names for Depressants

With so much current drug abuse in the U.S. it might be a good idea to get to know the common street names for depressants and stimulants. Drug abuse culture has its own form of communication for identifying the drugs that are used to get high. For the uninitiated, street names for depressants and stimulants can sound like a foreign tongue that we are not familiar with.

3 Minute Read | Published Sep 28 2023 | Updated Mar 01 2024 Expert Verified
Emma Collins
Written by
Ashley Bayliss
Reviewed by
Emma Collins
Written by
Ashley Bayliss
Reviewed by

Do you know the street names for depressants? Learn all about them here…


Street names for depressants are divided into three categories and include the following:

  1. Benzodiazepines are referred to as: tranks, downers, benzos, sleeping pills, bars and candy.
  2. Tranquilizers are referred to as zombie pills and A-minus.
  3. Barbiturates are called: reds, red birds, Barbs, yellows, yellow jackets, tooies, ludes, and phennies.

Depressant drugs are usually prescribed to treat anxiety, insomnia and seizures. They inhibit brain neurotransmission and affect the central nervous system, relaxing muscles and causing sedation. Abuse of depressants can create dangerous, life-threatening health complications. Some commonly abused prescription depressants are:

Some common effects of depressant abuse include:

  • Cognitive and neurological impairment, confusion, sleep disturbances,
  • Weakness, a lack of coordination,
  • Depersonalization, anxiety, psychosis, depression, behavioral changes,
  • Self-harm, suicidal thoughts and acts, breathing difficulty or cessation, coma, death


Stimulant slang names include:

  1. Hearts, crosses, roses, lady, black beauties, speed, uppers, coke, blow, bennies, cookie, snow, Vitamin R (Ritalin), JIF, truck drivers, and Skippy the smart drug.

Stimulant prescription drugs are amphetamines that are used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), depression, narcolepsy and other health problems. Some of the common brand name stimulant drugs are:

  • Concerta, Dexadrine, DextroStat, Adderall, Biphetamine, Ritalin, Benzedrine and Desoxyn.

Some common effects of stimulant abuse include:

  • Irregular heart beat, cardiovascular system failure, convulsions
  • Euphoria, increased energy and alertness, weight loss, quick breathing
  • Risky behavior, hallucinations, feelings of unrealistic personal power or ability
  • Aggression, hostility, paranoia, psychosis
  • Altered sexual behavior, malnutrition

Individuals who abuse drugs try to remain secretive about their drug activity and will use street names for depressants, and stimulants slang names to avoid detection. Slang terminology for drugs is used to deter law enforcement and other individuals that the addict wants to keep his drug abuse hidden from. Slang terms for depressants and stimulants is constantly evolving, and slang terms for depressants that are used today can quickly change to another form tomorrow. The same holds true for stimulants slang names. By constantly changing the slang names of drugs, addicts hope to avoid detection from unwanted sources.

Street names for depressants and other drugs often identifies what the drug looks like or defines the effects it creates on the user. Slang terms for depressants may be based on the color, shape or consistency of the drug. Stimulants slang names often describe the effects of the drug, or what the drug looks like. Some slang names for drugs have no real identification to any properties of the drug, which makes it more mysterious and harder to define what the addict is talking about.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy has issued a Street Guide to help law enforcement, public health and criminal justice professionals define drug types, drug activity and slang names for drugs. The guide provides over 2,000 street terms that describe specific drugs and activity. In some cases, a single term can identify numerous drugs, activity or meanings. The guide lists all drugs in alphabetical order and is a comprehensive tool for parents and teachers as well.

If you are a parent and your child is speaking terms you do not understand, you can check the White house Street Guide for drug slang terms. If you recognize the words, then it is probably time for you to sit down with your child and have a heart to heart talk.


bullet VICE
"Know Your Drug Lingo"
Retrieved on June 09, 2017

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