Drugs

The DEA’s list of drug slang is hilarious and bizarre

Have you ever tried giggle smoke? How about a hit of smoochy woochy poochy? Do you know where to score some lime pillows? Or cabbage or catnip or broccoli? Maybe just a little bit of Christmas tree.

Those are all synonyms for marijuana — at least, they’re the ones used at the Drug Enforcement Administration. The agency has released an unclassified intelligence report (viewable in full below) from May 2017 that includes a comprehensive and sometimes bizarre list of drug slang.

Some of the terminology is commonplace, like 420, dank, and bud. Coke is cocaine. Molly is MDMA. Smack is heroin. Even your mom knows those terms. But there’s also star-spangled powder (cocaine), dance fever (fentanyl), and Beyoncé (heroin), three terms that also sound like highlights from a Super Bowl halftime show.

The list, compiled by the DEA’s Houston division, comes with a disclaimer.

“Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information presented,” the report states. “However, due to the dynamics of the ever-changing drug scene, subsequent additions, deletions, and corrections are inevitable.”

Tech companies are mentioned (Facebook is purportedly fentanyl mixed with heroin in pill form, while Yahoo is crack cocaine), along with an Ivy League school (Yale is supposedly slang for crack), a soccer legend (Maradona, not surprisingly, means cocaine), and films (Top Gun and Rocky III apparently both refer to crack).

Cocaine has arguably the most colorful nicknames, including Bolivian marching powder, Florida snow, joy flakes, heaven dust, and devil’s dandruff. There’s also Racehorse Charlie, though whiz bang would probably be a better name for an actual thoroughbred.

A good portion of the list involves Spanish-language terms that drug traffickers could conceivably use as code words to confuse eavesdropping federal agents. Lechuga, for example, is the Spanish word for lettuce, but it’s also supposedly slang for marijuana. Ditto mota, which literally translates to weed. But there are some peculiar ones too: Muchacha (girl), pollito (little chicken), ventanas (windows), and piñatas are allegedly code for meth. Heroin is supposedly also known as avocado, chorizo, or manteca (lard). Cocaine is pescado (fish), queso blanco (white cheese), or tamales. It goes on and on. Listening to Mexican narcos on a wiretap sounds like a good way to work up an appetite.

In some cases, it appears the DEA is either misinformed or decades behind the times. The marijuana category, for instance, includes dozens of terms that are simply popular strains — Girl Scout Cookies, Maui Wowie, etc. There’s also terminology that hasn’t been used since the Summer of Love, like reefer for marijuana or Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds and Strawberry Fields for LSD.

As the DEA’s disclaimer notes, drug slang changes all the time. Plus, something that’s used as a code word among one group of users or traffickers could be meaningless to the rest of the world. In other words, it’s impossible to keep track — but law enforcement has to try. The result is a document that reads like a DEA agent got hopped up on booty juice (MDMA), brain ticklers (amphetamines), and krazy kandy (synthetic marijuana), then picked up a thesaurus.

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