It can be hard to recognize when your loved ones are abusing drugs if you do not even know the terms that describe the substances. Slang terms are often used to describe a variety of substances and some terms may describe the same drug. When you recognize the terminology that younger generations are using for the substance, it is easier to determine when there may be a problem.

The Triple C

The Triple C or CCC is a drug slang term that teenagers and young adult may use to describe the abuse of an over-the-counter cold medication. The medication is Coricidin Cough and Cold, which was unsurprisingly called CCC as a shorter method of referring to the medication.

Although Triple C is a term used to describe a particular cold medication, the terms syrup head and dexing may also refer to the same over-the-counter medication. Syrup heads and dexing are terms that describe cold medications that contain Dextromethorphan or DXM, which is a cough suppressant found in many over-the-counter cough and cold medications.

When cold medications are used appropriately, they can help reduce symptoms of an illness. Unfortunately, abuse of the medication can cause hallucinations and general grogginess. It is potentially dangerous when it is used inappropriately.

Special K

Special K is a term that describes ketamine, an anesthetic medication that is used to help treat humans and animals. When it is used by medical professionals, the anesthetic can help during surgical procedures or similar situations. Unfortunately, the medication is abused illegally to cause hallucinations or a sense of euphoria.

Although the common term is Special K, the slang referring to the drug can vary.

Common terms used to describe ketamine include:

  • Vitamin K
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Ket
  • Horse tranquilizer
  • Super acid

The terms may vary in different locations, but Special K is a common method of referring to the drug by many individuals in a variety of locations.

Heroin Terms

The slang terms for heroin have changed several times over the generations. Some of the slang terms have persisted while others have fallen away. Keeping up with the slang used for illegal drugs may help prevent substance abuse or identify when a loved one is abusing a potentially deadly drug.

The terms used to describe heroin include:

  • Antifreeze
  • Junk
  • Dope
  • Big H

  • Poison
  • Smack
  • Sweet dreams
  • Brown sugar

Heroin has a variety of potential terms and they may change on a regular basis. Antifreeze is a common term that is rising among young adults, but it may change over time.


Cocaine has a long history as an illegal substance, which has resulted in a variety of slang terms and methods of identifying the drug.

The common terms that describe cocaine include:

  • Snow
  • Dust
  • Nose candy
  • Flake

  • Coke
  • Powder
  • Rock
  • Coca

  • Cocktail
  • Coolie
  • Crack

Some of the terms used to describe cocaine are similar to older terms or may describe a specific form of the drug, such as crack or powder. Crack cocaine, powder and rock are all terms that talk about the form of the drug and may also be used as a slang term.

Since cocaine may be added to a cigarette or other substances, certain slang terms used to describe it are related to the mixture. For example, cocktail and coolie refer to a mixture of cigarette and cocaine.

The slang terms that are used to describe drugs can change over time. In some cases, the terms refer to the individual using the drugs or the active ingredient. Other terms directly relate to the substance and are used to describe the drug. Regardless of how the term is used, it is important to know the terms so that it is possible to identify when loved ones may need help.