If you're researching a drug, from ecstasy to coke to kratom, and the article starts by listing slang terms, you might not be dealing with a great original source.
"Cannabis — also known as a pot, doobies, yum-yum, Turkey fur, lean, dextrose and the Artist Formerly Known as Prince — is a dangerous plant chiefly smoked by frotteurs and Democrats."
The DEA does this all the time in press releases. The obvious reason is that DEA agents know the drug laws but aren't too familiar with the drugs. This is due to the fact that drug-enforcement agencies won't hire folks who've used drugs, even in the past. This is like auto repair shops rejecting mechanics who've driven cars.
That's part of why the DEA's newest list of "Slang Terms and Code Words" is glorious. It's based on what agents have heard on the street, from sources, and from confiscated documents, and they've filled up 125 pages with drug nicknames.
It's easy to nitpick the list as the product of out-of-touch Mormons and former secretaries of their high school debate society. It reads like it was written by a fat dad who's turned his baseball cap backward.
On many names, the DEA is flat confused. It swaps adjectives and verbs for nouns — fire to mean cocaine, rolling to mean MDMA. The DEA misses a lot of obvious names. No blunts. No candyflipping.
A Google search could've told them that STP is slang for DOM, not PCP. That trees are marijuana, never heroin. That tucibi is the phonetic spelling of 2c-b, not slang for "cocaine — pink variety."
Most of the time, we can't tell if the DEA is on the nose or not, since we've never heard the terms they list, but if regular folks are calling marijuana shmegma and Smoochy Woochy Poochy, or calling LSD Bart Simpson, well, then, we'll eat our shorts.
And their list fills up a lot of space with nonsensical names that bear no relationship to reality, claiming that, for example, marijuana is known on the street as shoes and cocaine is known as t-shirts or napkins.
These names are probably a result of misdirection. When sending sketchy text messages, many people randomly assign nonsense words to their drugs. "Listen, dude, if I text 'Let's sandbox the shortcake,' that means 'Let's boof the Ambien.'" These specific words are unknown outside a very small group of people. So when the DEA contends that beers or Diet Coke means meth; it's clearly just from one dude's text messages telling his friend that if he texts about beers or Diet Coke, he means meth. These nonsense names were created to fool the DEA; after that, the DEA fooled themselves.
But occasionally the DEA comes through. The list offers names that are new to us and wonderful. We don't know how many actual humans in the real world utter the following drug nicknames, but they totally should, because they're descriptive and colorful and useful. For any lover of language, it's a joy.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Ecstasy dissolved in liquid
Electric Kool Aid
To overdose but be revived by the medics:
Blew up a bag.
Now, wasn't that terrific? And worth reading 125 pages worth of words? Yes it was.
Thank you, DEA. We look forward to hearing from you again, soon.