Democracy Dies in Darkness

Wonkblog | Analysis

The DEA's drug slang dictionary is tremendous

By Christopher Ingraham

June 9, 2017 at 7:00 AM

Pictoscribe/Flickr

Psst!

Hey buddy, wanna buy some Smoochy Woochy Poochy? How about some Bambalachacha? Some Scooby Snax? Maybe a little Mind Detergent or Instant Zen? Blue Boys or Golden Girls? Flake, Fluff or Fizz?

Those terms all come from a lexicon of American drug slang recently published by the Drug Enforcement Administration. "It is designed as a ready reference for law enforcement personnel who are confronted by many of the hundreds of slang terms used to identify a wide variety of controlled substances, designer drugs, and synthetic compounds," the DEA writes.

It's meant to help law enforcement officials know the difference between Purple Haze (pot) and Purple Rain (PCP), or Scooby Snacks (MDMA) and Kibbles & Bits (Ritalin).

But slang is a tricky, ever-changing thing, and drug slang all the more so. Some of the terms feel hopelessly antiquated, like "Reefer" or "Wacky Tobacky" for marijuana. Others seem ridiculous or highly improbable, like "Movie Star Drug" for cocaine or "Smoochy Woochy Poochy." (We'll tell you what that one is later.)

The DEA acknowledges these difficulties. "Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information presented. However, due to the dynamics of the ever-changing drug scene, subsequent additions, deletions, and corrections are inevitable," the report's authors write.

Still, the colorful dictionary is a testament to the ingenuity of the illicit drug trade, from Angel Powder to Zapapote. Think you're up on your drug slang? Try our 10-question quiz below.

Warning: It's harder than you think.

Can't see the Quiz? Click Here.


Christopher Ingraham writes about politics, drug policy and all things data. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the Pew Research Center.

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