Empowering Change
Share This Post:

Street Names For Opiates


One of the rather unfortunate developments that has arisen within the technological boom of the twenty-first century is a culture that promotes and celebrates a mindset of instant gratification. If you were to believe the thousands of advertisements you were exposed to on a daily basis, whether on your televisions, radios, phones or computers, it would appear that everything in your life could be solved immediately with a simple click, call or pill.

As a result, this mindset of quick fixes has translated to how we as society deal with pain, be it physical or psychological, and is evidenced in the billion dollar industries that have successfully pushed the widespread dissemination of opiate pain relievers to the masses.

Through the duration of the twentieth century, most medical professionals in the U.S. believed that long-term use of opiates to treat chronic pain lead to increased risk of addiction, and decrease in the potency and utility of the drug as a pain reliever over a span of years. A paradigm shift occurred in the early 90’s as new legislation, backed by significant pushes from Big Pharma, helped shift this narrative of how we as a society should deal with pain. As a result, the country saw a massive increase in the use of opiates to treat chronic pain.

The highly addictive nature of these substances, plus the ease of availability of these drugs, lead to a substantial increase in the prevalence of recreational use of prescription opiates. Today, the U.S. consumes approximately 80 percent of the world’s prescription opiate supply. With this number rising from 76 million prescriptions in 1991 to 207 million in 2013, according to NIDA.


Opiate Epidemic

Now, we currently face an opiate epidemic in this country largely thanks to the high availability of painkillers such as Oxycodon, Vicodin and Percocet. In 2015, 33,000 people died of overdosing on opiates, that number rose to 50,000 in 2016; that is more than 100 American deaths per day.

Opiates are the number one killer of people under the age of thirty and now take more lives annually than auto accidents. Now, let us take this sobering number a step further. The vast majority of Heroin addictions start with pain pills. People get hooked on them and then turn to a much cheaper and more potent high in the form of Heroin. Heroin abuse alone is responsible for the additional deaths of 13,000 Americans annually.

According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), between 26.4 million and 36 million people around the globe abuse opiate drugs. This number includes both prescription pain relievers and the much more deadly offshoots such as heroin or morphine.

In addition, the National Institute on Drug Abuse says that approximately one in five teenagers have abused prescription drugs, with one in three believing that prescription pain pills are not addictive and that it is morally alright to use them in a recreational manner. Drugfree.org put out a study that showed only a tenth of the estimated 1.4 million teens with substance abuse problems ever receive treatment for it largely due to their parents’ ignorance, be it willful or innocent, towards their child’s substance abuse issues.

While the vast majority of people who begin using opiates as pain relievers have no intention of ever abusing drugs, the sad fact is that painkillers are powerfully addictive substances and a prescription for pain management may lead to a dangerous addiction. The road to addiction generally begins via a doctor’s prescription or a parent’s medicine cabinet, but when those sources run dry, people will turn to drug dealers.


Common Street Names for Opiates

All of the commonly abused prescription painkillers go by a variety of street names, ranging from short hand and nicknames to the absurd cultural memes. As a parent or a loved one, you should at least be aware of these so that you are not oblivious to potential clues that may point to a pattern of substance abuse in someone you know. Below, we will briefly discuss the more common drugs, their aspects, their effects and their street names so that you can be prepared.



An opiate used to treat pain, it is most effective when used as a cough medicine. It is typically intended to treat mild to moderate degrees of pain. Some people report that the drug makes their worries disappear and makes them more talkative. Others experience a seeming floating sensation in their bodies as a result of the anesthetic effect of the drug. Recreational users often describe codeine as a baby version of heroin.

Street names

  • By itself: Baby, Baby Heroin, Captain Cody, Cody, Schoolboy,
  • Mixed with Promethazine: Drank, Dirty Sprite, Lean, Purple Drank, Syzurp
  • Mixed with sedative glutethimide: Doors and Fours, Loads, Pancakes, Syrup

How it’s Used and Abused

By drinking more than the recommended dose. It is made even more dangerous and toxic when combined with alcohol. One popular method for codeine abuse involves taking codeine with promethazine. Promethazine itself is an antihistamine used to treat allergies, cold and pain. When the two are combined, users report drowsiness and pleasant feelings of relaxation. However, when promethazine is mixed with a narcotic such as codeine, the result can be dangerous and potentially lethal.


Also known as diamorphine among other names, is an opiate most commonly used as a recreational drug for its euphoric effects. Medically it is used in several countries to relieve pain or in opiate replacement therapy.

Street Names

  • By itself: Brown Sugar, China White, Chiva, Dark, Diamorphine, Dogfood, Dope, H, Hell Dust, Horse, Junk, Negra, Ron, Skag, Skunk, Smack, Tar, Thunder, White Horse.
  • Mixed with Benadryl: U-4, Pinkies, Sleepies.
  • Mixed with cold medicine: Cheese.

How it’s used and abused: Heroin is typically used intravenously; however, it can also be smoked, snorted or inhaled.



Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opiate synthesized from codeine, one of the opiate alkaloids found in the opium poppy. It is a narcotic analgesic used orally for relief of moderate to severe pain, but also commonly taken in liquid form as an antitussive/cough suppressant.

Street Names: Hydro, Narco, Vickies, Vike, Watson-387.

How it’s Used and Abused: The pill is taken in excess, either orally or crushed and then snorted.  



Also known as hydrocodone/acetaminophen or hydrocodone/APAP and marketed under the trade name Vicodin among others, is the combination of an opiate pain medication, hydrocodone, with paracetamol (acetaminophen). It is used as a prescription drug to relieve moderate to severe pain.

Street Names: Around the Worlds, Blues, Fluff, Magnums, M357s, Scratch, Vic, Vikes, Vees, V-Itamin, Vicogesic, Vitamin V

How it’s used and abused: When taken in excess in one of its various forms: it exists in pill, tablet, elixir and solution in various strengths for oral administration.



Is a semisynthetic opiate synthesized from thebaine, an opioid alkaloid found in the Persian poppy, and one of the many alkaloids found in the opium poppy. It is a moderately potent opiate analgesic, generally indicated for relief of moderate to severe pain.

Street Names: Hillbilly Heroin, Kicker, O.C., Oxycet, Oxycotton, Oxy, Percs, Roxy.

How it’s used and abused: The pill is taken in excess, either orally or crushed and then snorted.  


Meperidine (Pethidine)

Also known as meperidine and sold under the brand name Demerol among others, is a synthetic opiate pain medication of the phenylpiperidine class. Pethidine is indicated for the treatment of moderate to severe pain and for much of the 20th century, pethidine was the opiate of choice for many physicians. Originally considered to be safer and less addictive than Morphine, it later was discovered that they were erroneous in that notion.

Street Names:  Demmies, Pethidines, Merps

How it’s Used and Abused: It is taken in excess as either a hydrochloride salt in tablets, as a syrup, or by intramuscular, subcutaneous, or intravenous injection.  



Morphine is a pain medication of the opiate type which is found naturally in a number of plants and animals. It acts directly on the central nervous system (CNS) to decrease the feeling of pain. It can be taken for both severe acute pain and chronic pain.

Street Names:  Dreamer, Emsel, First Fine, God’s Drug, Hows, M, M.S., Miss Emma, Mister Blue, Monkey, Morf, Morpho, Unkie, White Stuff.

How it’s Used and Abused: It can be taken in excess either orally, by injection into a muscle, by injecting under the skin, intravenously, into the space around the spinal cord, or rectally.


Awareness is a weapon that needs to be used against the opiate epidemic. The more people are aware of the complications surrounding the current crisis, the street names of opiates, and the steps needed to correct the issue, the better chance we have as a nation to control the problem.

If you or a loved one is struggling with an opiate addiction, Luminance Recovery is here to help. Our unique approach to treatment integrates a personalized treatment plan based on each individual’s needs. Call us today to learn more about our treatment programs.

Contact Luminance Recovery - Start Your Recovery Now

Get the help you need – talk to our team to get started.

Please enter your first name.
Please enter your last name.
Please enter your email address.
This isn't a valid email address.
Please enter your phone number.
Please select an option.
Please make a selection.
Government insurance not accepted but financing available.

Luminance Core Values

It’s not easy to live up to these standards – to be the best, most compassionate, the most innovative. We take pride in what we’ve accomplished. But we’re constantly evolving because there’s always more we can do to raise the bar. It will take bravery and stamina to continue the legacy we’ve established. But in typical Luminance fashion, we’re always up for a challenge.

Our Core Values