Made from morphine, which is derived from the opium poppy plant, heroin is a highly addictive and illicit opioid drug. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, heroin use has been steadily increasing in the United States since 2007.
On the nation’s list of controlled drugs, heroin is considered a Schedule 1 drug. This means it has a high potential for abuse, and there are no known medical uses for heroin. As a result, heroin is illegal and comes with steep legal consequences if one is apprehended with it by law enforcement.
What Are the Common Street Names for Heroin?
Slang terms and street names are used in different countries, for different manufacturing processes, as well as different types of heroin, such as white powder, black tar, and liquid heroin.
Street names and slang terms are also used in an effort to confuse and elude law enforcement as well as the general public. Heroin has evolved a number of creative nicknames and slang terms.
- For the white powder form of heroin or heroin in general, some of the terms used include white horse, snow, snowball, China white, sugar, white lady, and others.
- For brown powder heroin, slang terms include brown crystal, coffee, brown sugar, and many more.
- For black tar heroin, slang terms include black pearl, black goat, black stuff, diesel, tootsie roll, Mexican mud, and other names, depending on the region.
- Additional general terminology used to refer to heroin includescaca, antifreeze, birdie powder, aunt hazel, bombs away, Charlie, Chinese food, fairy dust, DOA, foolish powder, Rambo, joy powder, wings, tragic magic, and others.
Common Names for Mixing Drugs
Some terminology is used when mixing drugs to denote the particular mix. Names for drug mixes include the following:
- Dynamite, speedball, and bombita (heroin and cocaine)
- Primo or dragon rock (heroin and crack)
- Screwball or goofball (heroin and meth)
- H-Bomb (heroin and ecstasy)
- Neon nod (heroin and LSD)
- Chocolate bars (heroin and Xanax)
- Atom bomb or a bomb (heroin and marijuana)
- El diablo (heroin, marijuana, and cocaine)
- LBJ (heroin, PCP, and LSD)
- Chiva coca (heroin and fentanyl)
These common names for heroin mixtures are again not just used to identify the combination, but also to confuse or hide the true identity of the drug.
Slang Terms for Heroin Use & Abuse
Slang terms for heroin use and abuse abound in the same way and for the same purposes as the street terms for the drug itself. You will find users talking about their use of the drug in these often-used terms:
- Chasing the dragon
- Dip and dab
- Daytime (being high)
- Evening (coming down from the high)
What Are the Common Names for Cutting Agents Used in Heroin?
Oftentimes, cutting agents are used in the manufacture of heroin for two reasons:
- To increase bulk, thus making it cheaper for the user to purchase, which can increase early use and encourage repeated abuse and addiction
- To increase the profit margin for the dealer
Common cutting agents most used by category include the following:
- Non-toxic cutting agents: lactose, sucralose (sugar), baking soda, corn starch, flour, powdered milk, and caffeine
- Toxic cutting agents: laundry detergent, rat poison, and fentanyl
- Pharmaceutical: methamphetamine, fentanyl, and lidocaine
These different cutting agents are often the reason why heroin has a vinegar type of smell as well. Many heroin overdoses that result in death are due to the presence of fentanyl, which can be deadly in very small doses.
- Heroin Research Report Overview. (June 2018). National Institute on Drug Abuse.
- Increases in Drug and Opioid Overdose Deaths — United States, 2000–2014. (January 2016). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.