Slang Names and Street Terms for Heroin

slang names and street terms for heroinHeroin is an illicit opioid substance that can lead to addiction after only a couple of uses. While you can smoke or snort heroin, many people end up injecting it intravenously because it causes the most potent high. Unfortunately, injecting heroin can increase your risk of overdosing and contracting infectious diseases like HIV or hepatitis.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 1.1 million people reported using heroin in 2021.[1]

If you are worried that your loved one is abusing heroin, it’s important to know the slang terms and street names associated with it. People use slang terms to ensure that those around them cannot identify what drug they are talking about. Common slang terms for heroin include smack, dog food, tar, and China white, however, there are many other nicknames to be aware of.

What are the Street Names and Slang Terms for Heroin?

One of the easiest ways to tell if your loved one is abusing heroin is by listening to their conversations with their friends. If you hear them using code words that you do not understand, they could be talking about heroin. This is why it is important to be aware of the slang terms associated with heroin and the abuse of it.

There are street names for heroin, terms used to describe mixing heroin with other substances, and even nicknames used to describe being high on the drug.

Street Names for Heroin

Heroin is usually in powder form and is white or tannish in color. However, there is a type of heroin that is black and sticky, which is often referred to as black tar heroin. Most of the slang terms associated with heroin come from how it looks or the effects it causes.

Common street names for heroin include:[2]

  • Smack
  • Dog food
  • H
  • Black tar or tar
  • China or China white
  • Junk
  • Brown sugar
  • Hell dust
  • Mud
  • Dragon
  • Dope
  • Boy
  • Black pearl
  • Mexican brown, Mexican mud, or Mexican horse
  • Snow or snowball
  • Thunder
  • Beast
  • Hero

Nicknames for Being High on Heroin

Your loved one might also use slang terms to describe being high on heroin to their friends. For example, some people call smoking heroin “chasing the dragon.”

Other nicknames for being high on heroin include:

  • Chasing the dragon
  • Daytime (being high)
  • Nighttime (coming down from the high)
  • Dip and dab
  • Do up
  • Fixing
  • Firing the ack-ack gun
  • Giving wings
  • Jolly pop
  • Paperboy
  • Channel swimmer

Slang Terms for Heroin Mixed With Other Drugs

Lastly, many people use nicknames to describe mixing heroin with other substances. Because combining heroin with other drugs can be incredibly dangerous, it is important to be aware of the slang terms.

Slang terms for mixing heroin with other drugs include:

  • Heroin and marijuana – atom bomb, a-bomb, and woo-woo
  • Heroin and ecstasy – h-bomb and chocolate chip cookies
  • Xanax and heroin – chocolate bars
  • Heroin and cold medicine – cheese
  • LSD and heroin – beast and Neon nod
  • PCP, heroin, and LSD – LBJ
  • Heroin, cocaine, and marijuana – el diablo
  • Heroin and cocaine – boy-girl, he-she, primo, dynamite and snowball
  • Crack and heroin – chocolate rock and dragon rock
  • Heroin and meth – speedballing or screwball
  • Heroin and Ritalin – pineapple

Mixing heroin with any substance can increase your risk of experiencing a life-threatening overdose. Many people believe that combining heroin with a stimulant (speedballing) will cancel out the depressant effects, however, this will only confuse your central nervous system and cause potentially fatal consequences.

Signs Your Loved One is Abusing Heroin

While being aware of the street names for heroin can help you determine if your loved one is abusing it, there are other signs to be aware of. For example, people who misuse heroin might randomly fall asleep, which is often referred to as “nodding off.”

Other signs that your loved one might be abusing heroin include:

  • Owning heroin paraphernalia such as needles, syringes, burnt spoons, cut-up straws, or small baggies
  • Experiencing financial issues and asking for money frequently
  • Behaving secretively or isolating from friends and loved ones
  • Neglecting their own personal hygiene
  • Frequently appearing fatigued or drowsy
  • Wearing long sleeves even when it is hot outside to hide needle marks
  • Coordination issues and slurred speech
  • Pinpointed pupils
  • Losing interest in previously enjoyed activities or missing work and school
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they cannot use heroin

While there are several other signs of heroin abuse, these are the most common. If your loved one is displaying the signs of heroin abuse and using slang terms to talk about heroin, it might be time to consider professional treatment. Heroin rehab programs can offer your loved one behavioral therapy, group counseling, and relapse prevention planning to ensure they maintain long-term sobriety.

Find Help for Heroin Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one abuse heroin, it’s time to attend a licensed drug rehab program. At Alamo Behavioral Health, we pride ourselves on offering clinically proven and evidence-based treatment methods, ensuring each client has the means to achieve success.

To learn more about our heroin addiction treatment program, contact us today.


  1. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): What is the scope of heroin use in the United States, Retrieved November 2023 From
  2. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA): Slang Terms and Code Words: A Reference for Law Enforcement Personnel, Retrieved November 2023 From

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