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Street Names, Nicknames, & Slang Terms for Heroin

Peter Manza, PhD profile image
Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD • Updated Nov 30, 2023 • 5 cited sources

Because heroin is illegal, many people who sell and use the drug refer to the practice in covert terms, choosing to use slang to talk about it. Some street names and slang terms for heroin include smack, junk, H and dope.

Getting to know the common slang terms for heroin can help concerned family members identify heroin use in a loved one.

What Are the Most Common Street Names for Heroin? 

Some of the most common street names for heroin include H, dope, smack, and junk, but depending on the location, there may be local slang terms that indicate heroin or heroin use. Also, different forms of heroin may have different street names.

For example, on the West Coast where black tar heroin imported from Mexico is most prevalent, users may refer to the substance as tar or black tar.

However, on the East Coast, where it is easier to get the brownish-white powder version of heroin from the Middle East, heroin may be referred to as white or China white.

According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, slang terms that refer to heroin include: [3]

  • H
  • Dope
  • Junk
  • Smack
  • Boy (as opposed to cocaine, which may be referred to as girl)
  • Chiva
  • Eighth (as in the measurement or an eighth of an ounce of heroin)
  • Horse or Mexican horse
  • Mud
  • Poppy
  • Diesel
  • Brown sugar
  • Brown
  • Black tar heroin
  • Mexican mud
  • Black pearl

Heroin Combination Street Names

Heroin is commonly sold in combination with other substances as people seek to create a unique experience that allows them to be functional and high, or to combine the effects of one drug with another. 

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the following are some of the slang terms used to talk about use of heroin in combination with other illicit substances:[4]

  • Anestesia de caballo: Heroin mixed with xylazine (horse tranquilizer)
  • Beast or neon nod: Heroin mixed with LSD
  • A-bomb: Heroin mixed with marijuana
  • H-bomb: Heroin combined with ecstasy
  • Speed ball or dynamite: Heroin mixed with cocaine
  • Dragon rock or primo: Heroin and crack cocaine
  • Chiva loca: Heroin mixed with fentanyl
  • Goofball: Heroin mixed with methamphetamine
  • Alien sex fiend: Heroin mixed with PCP
  • Chocolate bars: Heroin combined with Xanax
  • El diablo: Heroin combined with cocaine and marijuana

Mixing heroin with other drugs, including alcohol, increases the dangers of using this opioid—particularly the risk of overdose.

Cutting Agents Found in Street Heroin

Because heroin is a Schedule I controlled substance and is illegal to possess, distribute, or use, it is unregulated. Heroin found on the street is never pure, which means it’s cut with adulterants and other substances, either to increase profits or to make the drug more potent. 

Common cutting agents found in heroin on the street include:

  • Baking soda
  • Powdered milk
  • Talcum powder
  • Sugar
  • Starch
  • Laundry detergent
  • Rat poison
  • Caffeine
  • Acetaminophen
  • Fentanyl and fentanyl analogues
  • Carfentanil

Fentanyl and carfentanil are particularly dangerous, as they are far more potent than morphine or even heroin and can lead to a fatal overdose.

Treatment for Heroin Use 

If your child or another loved one is using street names for heroin to hide their use, they are likely struggling with heroin use or heroin use disorder. 

One of the gold standards in recovery from heroin use disorders and other opioid use disorders is Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT). Using medications like buprenorphine, Suboxone, Sublocade, or methadone reduces cravings and heroin withdrawal symptoms, allowing them to focus on more long term recovery. 

Find out more about MAT and how it can help you or your loved one begin the healing process when you contact Bicycle Health today

Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD

Peter Manza, PhD received his BA in Psychology and Biology from the University of Rochester and his PhD in Integrative Neuroscience at Stony Brook University. He is currently working as a research scientist in Washington, DC. His research focuses on the role ... Read More

  1. International Drug Control Treaties. United Nations Reporting and Quota Section. Accessed January 2023.
  2. Opioid Epidemic: Addiction Statistics. National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics. 2019. Accessed January 2023.
  3. Heroin Fast Facts: Questions and Answers. National Drug Intelligence Center. Accessed January 2023.
  4. Slang Terms and Code Words: A Reference for Law Enforcement Personnel. Drug Enforcement Administration. July 2018. Accessed January 2023.
  5. Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict, Discussion Guide. Drug Enforcement Administration. Accessed January 2023.

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