"Opioids are ubiquitous now. Enough opioids are prescribed every year to put a bottle of painkillers in every household. They're everywhere, and kids are getting into them."
~Dr. Julie R Gaither, PhD, MPH, RN, Postdoctoral Fellow in Biostatistics at the Yale school of medicine
In 2015, over 55,000 Americans died because of fatal drug overdoses. The American Society of Addiction Medicine reports that 20,101 of those deaths are because of prescription opioid painkillers.
That same year, 276,000 adolescents and teens aged 12 to 17 used an opioid pain reliever nonmedically. 122,000 of those met the criteria for a clinical diagnosis of an Opioid Use Disorder – addiction.
YOU are familiar with prescription opioid painkillers by their generic and brand names:
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, etc.)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet, etc.)
- Fentanyl (Duragesic)
- Tramadol (Ultram)
- Other less-common prescription pain medications
But teenage opioid abusers have their own language. They substitute nicknames and code words to hide their usage from parents, teachers, and law enforcement officers.
Slang and Street Terms for Prescription Painkiller Misuse
- “Pharming” – Taking a combination of medications to get high
- “Parachuting”—Crushing a pill, wrapping it in tissue, and swallowing it
- “Doctor Shopping” – Visiting multiple providers or feigning symptoms of an illness or injury in order to obtain several prescriptions
- “Pill Ladies” – Senior-citizen women who are willing to sell their own prescribed medications
- “Pill Mills” – Doctors who will prescribe easier than or in excess of what is suggested in the guidelines
Every type of abused prescription medication has its own specific list of Street names:
- Orange Crush
- Orange Crates
- Orange Counties
- Ocean Cities
- Hillbilly Heroin
Deaths involving synthetic opioids skyrocketed by 73% in 2015.
- Tango & Cash
- Murder 8
- King ivory
- Great Bear
- Dance Fever
- China White
- China Town
- China Girl
- Stop Signs
- O Bombs
- Blue Heavens
- Pain Killer
- Purple Drank
- Doors and 4s
- Captain Cody
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Am I Done
- White Stuff
- Mister Blue
- Miss Emma
- God’s Drug
- First Fine
Why Do I Need to Know What Teenagers Call Prescription Opioids?
If you overhear your adolescent or teenager using any of these slang/street terms, it DOES NOT necessarily mean that they are abusing prescription painkillers, but it DOES mean that you may need to be alert.
If you discover that they ARE misusing opioids, then you need to get them into an reputable treatment program as soon as possible. Addiction is a progressive disease—without help, in ALWAYS gets worse.
Teensavers Treatment Centers provides individualized recovery services to teens and families in crisis, whether due to substance abuse, emotional disorders, or both. If your child is misusing prescription opioids, help IS available. Contact Teensavers today for a confidential intake and assessment.