Police given 3,000 word 'A to Z of drugs slang' to stay ahead of criminals

By Terrapinzflyer · Nov 8, 2009 · Updated Nov 8, 2009 · ·
  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Police given 3,000 word 'A to Z of drugs slang' to stay ahead of criminals
    Police officers are being issued with a list of almost 3,000 slang words and phrases associated with illegal drugs, in order to stay one step ahead of criminals.

    The document has been drawn up by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) for use by all forces in England and Wales.

    A copy has been obtained by The Sunday Telegraph under Freedom of Information legislation.

    In total, it contains 2,875 words and phrases, used by drug criminals.
    On the list are around 250 words for heroin alone, including "old steve", "nurse", "lemonade", "hairy", "george", "dog food", "rambo", "elephant", "scott", "gravy", "jack", "helen", "henry", "jones", "witch", "horsebite", "dead on arrival" and "pangonadalot".

    The term "Aunt Hazel" is also used – although this should not be confused with "Aunt Mary" (marijuana) and "Aunt Nora" (cocaine).

    The names of some celebrities are also used as codes for drugs by criminals, including "Kate Bush", for marijuana, and "Jerry Springer", for heroin.

    Confusingly, the term "LBJ" – best known as the initials of former US president Lyndon Baines Johnson – is now used to describe three drugs: LSD, PCP and heroin.

    Another former international statesmen, Mikhail Gorbachev, has also found his name used to describe a drug. LSD is now known as both "Gorbachev" and "Gorby".

    Several cartoon or children's characters are used to identify drugs, including "Bart Simpson" (heroin), "Beavis and Butthead" (LSD), "Casper the Ghost" (crack), "Dennis the Menace" (ecstasy), "Felix the Cat" (LSD), "Snow White" (cocaine) and "Peter Pan" (PCP).

    Rhyming slang is also employed – for instance, "I'll be back", for crack.
    Other phrases from the list are "to babysit", which is to guide someone through their first drug experience, and "on the bricks", to mean released from prison.

    "Hitch up the reindeers" means to inhale cocaine while an "icecream habit", or "Pepsi habit", indicates the occasional use of drugs.

    There are several terms to describe a crack addict searching on their hands and knees for drugs. These include "base crazies", "chicken scratching" and "henpicking".

    A "Lamborghini" or "Maserati" is a crack pipe made from a plastic rum bottle and a rubber sparkplug cover. A "Channel swimmer" is one who injects heroin.

    The police themselves are known as "bulls", "rollers", "heat", or "Big John". "Hot heroin" is poisoned drugs given to a police informant.

    Jean Parnham, marketing manager from the PNLD, said the list of words was constantly being updated.

    "If there is a new word or term going around, then a police officer will tell us and we will add it to the list so it can be shared among all forces."

    By Jasper Copping
    Published: 9:50PM GMT 07 Nov 2009


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  1. YeaXTC
    The general idea by cops is decent, but comeon in all actuality, drug slang can be constantly changing and forever "updating" so why would they even try and compile a complete list of all and any words.. one can generally understand what someones talking about when they talk about drugs and how their conversation is sketchy and weird...

    ex. swims heard heroin described as so many different things...horse, henry, dessert, pie, ETC ETC & "bags" as pieces of pie, and 10 bags (a bundle) as a whole pie. also, bags as hamburgers, and a bundle as a happy meal or full meal.

    the things dealers/users will think of, really creative shit :) swimthinks!
  2. Synchronium
    The list will continue to evolve until it has every single word in the English language on it.
  3. dadrone
    Ha - SWIM didn't even acknowledge most of those. Then again, he doesn't use heroin...
  4. YeaXTC
    this is evident with all drugs though.
    ANY word can be used to describe ANY drug, from meth to heroin to weed.

    there is literally a limitless amount of slang for any drug, however there are some common and usual "slang" words that i guess if a cop did know could help them when trying to bust someone. but the average dealer whos using slang will have special slang for their particular sales and customers, that theyd request them to use, so it kind of is used on a case by case idea...
  5. Helene

    Swim certainly does use heroin, yet she still hasn't heard of any of those so-called slang terms for it. It's just "gear" to most people swim's met. Maybe at a push "brown", "dark" or even "nasty" if they're feeling particularly inventive.

    If swim called up her man asking for an eighth of "elephant", however, he'd put the phone down straight away, thinking she's lost the fucking plot completely. And rightly so!

    Anyway, it made her giggle a bit, that article did, so thanks Terrapinz!

  6. Dr. Amapola
    SWIM agrees with swi-Helene, even though whoever these folks are spent all this time compiling all these terms, most of them aren't being used on the streets, and by the time the police learn a new term, it has probably already been replaced by another one.

    When it comes down to it, dealers and buyers will always figure out ways to disguise their transactions. And the cops will always get the short end of the stick in this aspect because it's a transparent language. You can't be arrested to say "Will you have Kate Bush tonight?" or "I need a babysitter" or "Let's go rip my new Maserati." ...the drug dealer and user's language is transparent, and this will always give them the upper hand against the authorities. Of course, that's only one aspect of the drug deal.
  7. Bajeda

    Those would be so awkward to use in a conversation! And the second word has "gonad" smack dab in the middle of it, I mean... really, how is that not taking the piss?

    I'm going to venture a guess that many epic lulz were had by the people providing some of these names to the police.
  8. mystic_mOOg
    A couple of these are more like product names than slang

    Gorbys were around in the late 80's UK
    Denis the menace Early 90's UK

    I agree it's pretty futile trying to remebering all those names I think the context of a conversation would tell you more about whether or not something untoward was going on.

    "Hello, is Henry about, see you in 10".

    Funny though
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