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Decoding Drug Slang 

If you hear your teen telling a friend he’s craving brown sugar or Skittles, he may not be in search of something sweet to eat. It could be he’s actually looking to get high. In drug slang, brown sugar is heroin and Skittles refer to over-the-counter cough and cold medicines that contain dextromethorphan, or  DXM. 

How do you know if your child is taking drugs? Watch for these signs in your teen—or your children as young as 10 or 11:

  • Lower grades
  • A change in friends
  • Isolation from the family
  • Hostile or argumentative behavior
  • Missing money or alcohol from the home

And don’t assume a high-achieving child is immune to drug or alcohol problems. Often tremendous pressure to get top grades or do well in sports or other activities can lead kids to drug use.

One thing that can help is to keep up with the slang terms teens are using. The more you know, the more you can watch out for your kids’ safety. 

  • AC/DC: cough syrup with codeine
  • AIMIES: amphetamines
  • AMPED OUT: the fatigue you feel after using amphetamines
  • BROWN SUGAR: heroin; also STUFF
  • COTTON: the painkiller OxyContin; also O.C. or OXY
  • DEXIES: Amphetamines
  • FRY STICKS: marijuana cigarettes dipped in formaldehyde and sometimes laced with PCP
  • H-BOMB: Ecstasy mixed with heroin
  • JUICE: both steroids and PCP
  • K-HOLE: periods of ketamine-induced confusion
  • KILLERS: Vicodin and other painkillers; also VIKES
  • OZONE: inhalants
  • PARACHUTING: using the sedative Xanax in combination with Ecstasy to prolong the high
  • PRIMO: a marijuana cigarette rolled with cocaine
  • ROBO-DOSING: using products that contain dextromethorphan, such as the cough syrup Robitussin; also DEXING
  • ROOFIES: Rohypnol, the date rape drug
  • SEXTASY: combining the prescription drug Viagra with Ecstasy
  • SKITTLES: Coricidin tablets, which contain dextromethorphan; also CCC or TRIPLE CS
  • SMURFS: prescriptions stimulants like Adderall
  • SPECIAL K: ketamine, a medication usually used as an anesthetic for people and animals, which can cause hallucinations and euphoria; also VITAMIN K, CAT VALIUM
  • SYRUP: a combination of marijuana and cough syrup
  • VITAMIN R: Ritalin, a common prescription drug for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; also JIF
  • WHIP-ITS: inhalants, such as compressed nitrous oxide often used as a whipped cream propellent
  • WORKING MAN’S COCAINE: methamphetamine, a powerful stimulant
  • Z-BARS: sedatives such as Xanax