A-Bombs & Bruno Mars: DEA Releases 2018 Drug Slang Guidebook

By Paul Gaita 07/16/18
The unclassified guidebook is intended to help law enforcement personnel navigate the lingo used to refer to drugs.
Man reading a book

High Times has noted, with no small degree of amusement, that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), has issued the 2018 edition of its handbook "Slang Terms and Code Words: A Reference for Law Enforcement Personnel," which presents both new and evergreen terms for drugs and related issues, including sales, measurements and geographical locations.

According to the National Drug Early Warning System, a research group funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the unclassified guidebook is intended to assist law enforcement personnel in navigating the myriad of slang terms used to refer to drugs.

The 2018 edition is laid out in a manner similar to the 2017 guidebook, which presented long-standing terms with newer ones in italics, but adds a cross-referenced alphabetical list, which boosts the page count to 125—several times larger than the seven-page 2017 edition.

According to the High Times report, marijuana has the largest single entry in the listing, incorporating both widely known terms like "pot" and "reefer" with more obscure and enduring terminology like "cheeba," "dank" and "Acapulco Gold."

Among the 2018 additions are "A-bomb," which is used to describe marijuana mixed with heroin; "manteca" (a relatively venerable term with Afro-Cuban heritage reaching back to the 1940s) to; "green crack" and "greenhouse," and "bionic," which is marijuana mixed with PCP.

Several strains of marijuana also make the list, including Tangie OG—spelled Tangy OG in the guide—Girl Scout Cookies and Train Wreck.

Synthetic cannabinoids also enjoy a diverse lexicon, ranging from "kush" and "spice" to what the guide labels as newer brand names like "Bombay Blue" and "Yucatan Fire," while marijuana concentrates/hash oil—a new listing for 2017—are a similar mix of established nomenclature ("dabs") and terms well known in marijuana culture and less so among law enforcement ("rosin," "bubble hash").

Cocaine and heroin both sport their own substantial lists, with "chicanitas," "comida dulce" and "puma" among the former's new terms (though the DEA has apparently never heard of the pungent "Booger Sugar" prior to this list) and "chocolate shake," "churro negro" and "huera" currently trending, so to speak, for heroin.

"Goofballs"—a Beat Generation term used to describe heroin mixed with methamphetamine—also appears to have been revived for the 2018 list.

Substances like steroids ("Arnolds," "gym candy"), PCP ("Ashy Larry"), mescaline ("love flip," when mixed with ecstasy) and GBH ("Bruno Mars") each merit a listing, as do measurements—one kilogram has apparently been referred to as a "can of paint" or "pillow"—and the cities of Los Angeles (Los Shorts) and New York (Towers or Up Top).

A lengthy list of miscellaneous terms for very specific activities is also included, (i.e., Coordinates of Maritime Rendezvous Sites and Smuggling Route are "Las Dirrecciones"). The guidebook concludes with a massive alphabetical list for easier reference.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, Amazon.com and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.