A summary of common drugs, their most common street names, description and use as well as their effects and dangers

 

Drug Name

Street Names

Description and Use

Effects and Dangers

LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide)

Acid, Sugar Cubes, White Lightning, Dose, Tripping, Blotter

LSD is a hallucinogenic drug. LSD is put on paper that is licked or swallowed. Capsules and liquids are also swallowed.

  • Senses of space, distance, and time become altered. 
  • People say they "hear" colours or "see" sounds, but effects are unpredictable. Strange feelings and strong emotions are typical.
  • Once you go on an "acid trip," you can't get off till the drug's done with you — in about 12 hours! 
  • LSD can cause "bad trips" — users experience panic, confusion, sadness, and scary images.
  • Bad reactions can occur even with the first use and a user may have flashbacks, where a person experiences the feelings of a bad trip even after the drug wears off.
  • LSD affects judgment and behaviour may get out of control. The user may find themselves in a dangerous situation.
  • Physical changes include dilated pupils, increased heart rate and blood pressure, trembling and shaking, sweating, sleeplessness, and loss of appetite.

PCP (Phencyclidine) (l-(l-phenylcyclohexyl)-piperidine)

Angel Dust, Peace Pill, Hog, Lovely, Wack, Ozone, Dust, Embalming Fluid, Rocket Fuel; Amoeba, animal tranquilliser, Cadillac, CJ, crystal, crystal joint, cyclones, DOA (dead on arrival), elephant tranquilliser, embalming fluid, goon, horse tranquilliser, KJ, Lovely, love boat, mess, mist, peace pill, peace, ozone, rocket fuel, synthetic THC, scuffle, seams, sheet, snorts, super rods, surfer, synthetic marijuana, zombie 'Super weed', 'super grass', 'killer weed' or 'peace weed' and killer joints are names that refer to PCP combined with marijuana.

PCP is a dissociative anaesthetic. It is normally snorted, smoked or ingested but it has also been injected. For smoking, it is often applied to a leafy material such as parsley, oregano or marijuana (in which case it is called).

  • The effects of PCP vary greatly - it is impossible to predict the behaviour of someone who has taken PCP. PCP can produce feelings of well-being and relaxation in users; but, it can also induce severe traumatic effects such as feelings of anxiety (common), fear, panic, agitation and paranoia. In addition, a person could potentially experience: aggressive/ hostile/ violent behaviour, incoherent or inability to speak drooling, severe depression, hallucinations
  • Overdoses are life-threatening. Intoxication with PCP can cause convulsions, coma, hyperthermia and death (usually because breathing stops). There are no antidotes for PCP intoxication; overdoses are treated with life support. Comas resulting from PCP may last 7-10 days.
  • People who have taken high doses of PCP often become severely disoriented and violent and may pose a danger to themselves and others. Suicides, homicides, self-mutilations and other results from extreme violent behaviour have been reported. Other deaths related to PCP have resulted from accidental drowning, motor vehicle accidents or leaps from high places.
  • PCP also has sedative effects therefore small doses of PCP in combination with central nervous system depressants such as alcohol or opioids can lead to coma.

Amphetamines

Speed, uppers, dexies, bennies, Amp, Dexes, Pepe ills, Wake ups, Black beauties, Crack meth, Ice, Matunguru, Maharagwe

Amphetamines are stimulants that accelerate functions in the brain and body. They come in pills or tablets. Prescription diet pills also fall into this category of drugs. Amphetamines are swallowed, inhaled, or injected.

  • Swallowed or snorted, these drugs hit users with a fast high, making them feel powerful, alert, and energized.
  • Uppers pump up heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure, and they can also cause sweating, shaking, headaches, sleeplessness, and blurred vision. Prolonged use may cause hallucinations and intense paranoia.
  • Amphetamines are very addictive. Users who stop report that they experience various mood problems such as aggression, anxiety, and intense cravings for the drugs.

Cocaine and Crack

Street Names for Cocaine: coke, snow, blow, nose candy, whites, big C, Bazooka, Blanche, flake, Big G, or snowbirds. Street Names for Crack: freebase, rock

Cocaine is a white crystalline powder made from the dried leaves of the coca plant. Crack, named for its crackle when heated, is made from cocaine. It looks like white or tan pellets. They are both dangerous stimulants. Cocaine is inhaled through the nose or injected into the bloodstream. Crack is heated, and then the vapours are smoked.

  • Cocaine is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system, giving users a quick, intense feeling of power and energy. Snorting highs last between 15 and 30 minutes; smoking highs last between 5 and 10 minutes.
  • Cocaine also elevates heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.
  • Injecting cocaine can give you hepatitis B or C or HIV/AIDS if you share needles with other users. Snorting cocaine can cause nosebleeds and damage the tissues inside your nose. It can even cause a hole inside the lining of your nose.
  • First-time users — even teens — of both cocaine and crack can stop breathing or have fatal heart attacks. Using either of these drugs even one time can kill you.
  • Cocaine and crack are highly addictive, and as a result, the drug, not the user, calls the shots. Even after one use, cocaine and crack can create both physical and psychological cravings that make it very, very difficult for users to stop.

Cough and Cold Medicines (DXM) (dextromethorphan)

Triple C, candy, C-C-C, dex, DM, drex, red devils, robo, rojo, skittles, tussin, velvet, vitamin D

Several over-the-counter cough and cold medicines contain the ingredient dextromethorphan (also called DXM). Cough and cold medicines, which come in tablets, capsules, gel caps, and lozenges as well as syrups, are swallowed. DXM is often extracted from cough and cold medicines, put into powder form, and snorted.

  • Small doses help suppress coughing, but larger doses can cause fever, confusion, impaired judgment, blurred vision, dizziness, paranoia, excessive sweating, slurred speech, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, headache, lethargy, numbness of fingers and toes, redness of face, dry and itchy skin, loss of consciousness, seizures, brain damage, and even death.
  • Sometimes users mistakenly take cough syrups that contain other medications in addition to dextromethorphan. High doses of these other medications can cause serious injury like liver damage, damage to or other negative effects on the heart, and even death.
  • People who use cough and cold medicines and DXM regularly to get high can become psychologically dependent upon them (meaning they like the feeling so much they can't stop, even though they aren't physically addicted).

Depressants

Downers, goof balls, barbs, ludes

Depressants, such as tranquillisers and barbiturates, calm nerves and relax muscles. Many are legally available by prescription (such as Valium and Xanax) and are bright-coloured capsules or tablets. Depressants are swallowed.

  • When used as prescribed by a doctor and taken at the correct dosage, depressants can help people feel calm and reduce angry feelings.
  • Larger doses can cause confusion, slurred speech, lack of coordination, and tremors.
  • Very large doses can cause a person to stop breathing and result in death.
  • Depressants and alcohol should never be mixed — this combination greatly increases the risk of overdose and death.
  • Depressants can cause both psychological and physical dependence.

Ecstasy (MDMA)

XTC, X, Adam, E, Roll, 3,4 methyelenedioxy methamphetamine (MDMA),Eve, MDE

This is a designer drug created by underground chemists. It comes in powder, tablet, or capsule form. Ecstasy is a popular club drug among teens because it is widely available at raves, dance clubs, and concerts. Ecstasy is swallowed or sometimes snorted.

  • This drug combines a hallucinogenic with a stimulant effect, making all emotions, negative and positive, much more intense. Users feel a tingly skin sensation and an increased heart rate. Ecstasy can also cause dry mouth, cramps, blurred vision, chills, sweating, and nausea.
  • Sometimes users clench their jaws while using. They may chew on something (like a pacifier) to relieve this symptom.
  • Many users also experience depression, paranoia, anxiety, and confusion. There is some concern that these effects on the brain and emotion can become permanent with chronic use of ecstasy.
  • Ecstasy also raises the temperature of the body. This increase can sometimes cause organ damage or even death.
  • Although the physical addictiveness of Ecstasy is unknown, teens who use it can become psychologically dependent upon it.

GHB (Gamma Hydroxybutyrate)

Liquid Ecstasy, G, Georgia Home Boy

Often made in home basement labs, usually in the form of a liquid with no odour or colour. It has gained popularity at dance clubs and raves and is a popular alternative to Ecstasy for some teens and young adults. When in liquid or powder form (mixed in water), GHB is drunk; in tablet form it is swallowed.

  • GHB is a depressant drug that can cause both euphoric (high) and hallucinogenic effects. The drug has several dangerous side effects, including severe nausea, breathing problems, decreased heart rate, and seizures.
  • GHB has been used for date rape because it is colourless and odourless and easy to slip into drinks.
  • At high doses, users can lose consciousness within minutes. It's also easy to overdose: There is only a small difference between the dose used to get high and the amount that can cause an overdose.
  • Overdosing GHB requires emergency care in a hospital right away. Within an hour GHB overdose can cause coma and stop someone's breathing, resulting in death. GHB (even at lower doses) mixed with alcohol is very dangerous — using it even once can kill you.
  • When users come off GHB they may have withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia and anxiety. Teens may also become dependent upon it.

Heroin

Horse, smack, Big H, junk, Kichuri, popy, poni, mizigo, stuff, maponaji, kiketi, brown sugar

Heroin comes from the dried milk of the opium poppy, which is also used to create the class of painkillers called narcotics — medicines like codeine and morphine. Heroin can range from a white to dark brown powder to a sticky, tar-like substance. Heroin is injected, smoked, or inhaled (if it is pure).

  • Heroin gives you a burst of euphoric (high) feelings, especially if it's injected. This high is often followed by drowsiness, nausea, stomach cramps, and vomiting.
  • Users feel the need to take more heroin as soon as possible just to feel good again.
  • With long-term use, heroin ravages the body. It is associated with chronic constipation, dry skin, scarred veins, and breathing problems.
  • Users who inject heroin often have collapsed veins and put themselves at risk of getting deadly infections such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B or C, and bacterial endocarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart) if they share needles with other users.
  • Heroin is extremely addictive and easy to overdose on (which can cause death). Withdrawal is intense and symptoms include insomnia, vomiting, and muscle pain.

Inhalants

Mugui, Doso, Bien, Mangata, sniff, gum, glue

Inhalants are substances that are sniffed or "huffed" to give the user an immediate rush or high. They include household products like glues, paint thinners, dry cleaning fluids, gasoline, felt-tip marker fluid, correction fluid, hair spray, aerosol deodorants, and spray paint. Inhalants are breathed in directly from the original container (sniffing or snorting), from a plastic bag (bagging), or by holding an inhalant-soaked rag in the mouth (huffing).

  • Inhalants make you feel giddy and confused, as if you were drunk. Long-time users get headaches, nosebleeds, and may suffer loss of hearing and sense of smell.
  • Inhalants are the most likely of abused substances to cause severe toxic reaction and death. Using inhalants, even one time, can kill you.
  • Inhalants can be very addictive. Teens that use inhalants can become psychologically dependent upon them.

Ketamine

K, Special K, vitamin K, bump, cat Valium

Ketamine hydrochloride is a quick-acting anaesthetic that is legally used in both humans (as a sedative for minor surgery) and animals (as a tranquilizer). At high doses, it causes intoxication and hallucinations similar to LSD. Ketamine usually comes in powder that users snort. Users often do it along with other drugs such as Ecstasy (called kitty flipping) or cocaine or sprinkle it on marijuana blunts

  • Users may become delirious, hallucinate, and lose their sense of time and reality. The trip — also called K-hole — that results from Ketamine use lasts up to 2 hours.
  • Users may become nauseated or vomit, become delirious, and have problems with thinking or memory.
  • At higher doses, Ketamine causes movement problems, body numbness, and slowed breathing.
  • Overdosing on Ketamine can stop you from breathing — and kill you.
  • Teens who use it can become psychologically dependent upon it.

Marijuana

Pot, weed, blunts, chronic, grass, reefer, herb, ganja Boza, wadada, shada, ndom, ganja, dawa, dagga, kikola, ngwai, bhang, joint, Columbian.

Marijuana resembles green, brown, or grey dried parsley with stems or seeds. A stronger form of marijuana called hashish (hash) looks like brown or black cakes or balls. Marijuana is often called a gateway drug because frequent use can lead to the use of stronger drugs. Marijuana is usually smoked — rolled in papers like a cigarette (joints), or in hollowed-out cigars (blunts), pipes (bowls), or water pipes (bongs). Some people mix it into foods – like cakes or cookies or brew it as a tea.

  • Marijuana can affect mood and coordination. Users experience mood swings that range from stimulated or happy to drowsy or depressed.
  • Marijuana also elevates heart rate and blood pressure. Some people get red eyes and feel very sleepy or hungry. The drug can also make some people paranoid or cause them to hallucinate. Marijuana is tough on the lungs — steady smokers suffer coughs, wheezing, and frequent colds.
  • Teens who use marijuana can become psychologically dependent upon it. In addition, their bodies may demand more and more marijuana to achieve the same kind of high experienced in the beginning.

Methamphetamine

Crank, meth, speed, crystal, chalk, fire, glass, crypto, ice

This is a powerful stimulant. It can be swallowed, snorted, injected, or smoked.

  • Users feel a euphoric rush from methamphetamine, particularly if it is smoked or shot up. But they can develop tolerance quickly — and will use more meth for longer periods of time, resulting in sleeplessness, paranoia, and hallucinations.
  • Users sometimes have intense delusions such as believing that there are insects crawling under their skin.
  • Prolonged use may result in violent, aggressive behaviour, psychosis, and brain damage. The chemicals used to make methamphetamine can also be dangerous to both people and the environment.
  • Methamphetamine is highly addictive.

Nicotine

Fegi, ngale, mozo, mufwaka, ngarasi, cigar, mbaki, and kiraiku, moshi

Nicotine is a highly addictive stimulant found in tobacco. This drug is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream when smoked. Nicotine is typically smoked in cigarettes or cigars. Some people put a pinch of tobacco (called chewing or smokeless tobacco) into their mouths and absorb nicotine through the lining of their mouths.

  • Physical effects include rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure, shortness of breath, and a greater likelihood of colds and flu.
  • Nicotine users have an increased risk for lung and heart disease and stroke. Smokers also have bad breath and yellowed teeth. Chewing tobacco users may suffer from cancers of the mouth and neck. Withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, anger, restlessness, and insomnia.
  • Nicotine is as addictive as heroin or cocaine, which makes it extremely difficult to quit. Those who start smoking before the age of 21 have the hardest time breaking the habit.

Rohypnol

Roofies, roach, forget-me pill, date rape drug

This is a low-cost, increasingly popular drug. Because it often comes in pre-sealed bubble packs, many teens think that the drug is safe. This drug is swallowed, sometimes with alcohol or other drugs.

  • Rohypnol is a prescription anti-anxiety medication that is 10 times more powerful than Valium.
  • It can cause the blood pressure to drop, as well as cause memory loss, drowsiness, dizziness, and an upset stomach. Though it's part of the depressant family of drugs, it causes some people to be overly excited or aggressive.
  • Rohypnol has received a lot of attention because of its association with date rape. Many teen girls and women report having been raped after having Rohypnol slipped into their drinks. The drug also causes "anterograde amnesia." This means it's hard to remember what happened while on the drug, like a blackout.
  • Users can become physically addicted to Rohypnol, so it can cause extreme withdrawal symptoms when users stop

Alcohol

Keroroo, maji, tot, juwo, cham, slosh, pint, kong’oh, olure, sichuma, juice, chwara, CX3, kuona mbee, puya, omuriro, buzz, barley, steam, nga’ngo, mulingilo, mukorogo, muchuchura, kaunga, gehtee, achwaka, dawa, khatiti

This is a depressant that alters perceptions, emotions, and senses. Alcohol is a liquid that is drunk. But now there are other ways for example using tampons both by female and male teens, snorting so that one gets the high immediately

  • Alcohol first acts as a stimulant, and then it makes people feel relaxed and a bit sleepy.
  • High doses of alcohol seriously affect judgment and coordination. Drinkers may have slurred speech, confusion, depression, short-term memory loss, and slow reaction times.
  • Large volumes of alcohol drunk in a short period of time may cause alcohol poisoning.
  • Teens who use alcohol can become psychologically dependent upon it. In addition, their bodies may demand more and more to achieve the same kind of high experienced in the beginning.
  • Some teens are also at risk of becoming physically addicted to alcohol. Withdrawal from alcohol can be painful and even life threatening. Symptoms range from shaking, sweating, nausea, anxiety, and depression to hallucinations, fever, and convulsions.

Miraa (Khat)

Veve, gomba, mbachu, njiri, khat, kat, mairungi, qat, alwa, gaah, mogoka, giza, alele, andas Khat, Veve, Muguka, Goks, Gomba, Mbachu, Mairungi, Alele, Giza or Halwa.

Miraa is a plant whose fresh leaves and soft twigs are chewed to release a juice containing cathinone and cathine, the active chemicals that alter the mood of the abuser. Miraa is a prohibited substance in some countries and in international sports.

  • Miraa has similar but less intense effects than the stimulating effects of cocaine. Upon chewing, you experience an unusual feeling of excitement and alertness. You may talk too much, lose concentration on simple tasks or even forget simple facts.
  • Chewing miraa causes rapid heart rate and increased blood pressure, symptoms that are sometimes confused with increased sexual libido or stamina. When chewed continually, miraa gives you chronic constipation since it causes dehydration.
  • Using miraa to keep awake places you in danger of causing harm through accidents. When your body suddenly goes to sleep due to accumulated sleep deprivation, you can cause road traffic or factory accidents thereby inflicting damage to life and property. 
  • Chewing miraa constricts the vessels supplying blood to the reproductive tract thereby causing inhibited urine flow, and in men, the inability to attain and sustain an erection. The chemicals in miraa make your body to produce excessive amounts of sperm without you being sexually aroused. The sperms ooze out uncontrollably, a condition known as spermatorrhoea. In extreme cases, men are forced to wear nappies or several underpants.
  • In women, the dehydrating effect of miraa dries the lining of the reproductive tract leading to pain during sexual intercourse and blistering. The micro-injuries can cause reproductive tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Chewing miraa during pregnancy decreases blood flow to uterus, disrupting flow of nutrients from your bloodstream to the unborn baby.

Bath Salts

Aura, Black Rob, Bliss, Blizzard, Bloom, Blue Silk, Cloud 9, Drone, Hurricane Charlie, Ivory Wave, Lovey Dovey, Lunar Wave, Maddie, MCAT, Meow Meow, Monkey Dust, MTV, Ocean Snow, Peeve, Purple Wave, PV, Red Dove, Scarface, Snow Leopard, Stardust, Super Coke, Vanilla Sky, White Lightning and Zoom

This is a family of designer drugs often containing substituted cathinones, which have effects similar to amphetamine and cocaine. The white crystals resemble legal bathing products like epsom salts, and are called bath salts with the packaging often stating "not for human consumption" in an attempt to avoid the prohibition of drugs. Bath salts can be swallowed, snorted, smoked, or injected. Swallowing and snorting are the most common routes of administration. Distributors can camouflage the drug as everyday substances like fertiliser or insect repellent.

  • Users of bath salts have reported experiencing symptoms including headache, heart palpitations, nausea, and cold fingers. Hallucinations, paranoia, and panic attacks have also been reported, and news media have reported associations with violent behaviour, heart attack, kidney failure, liver failure, suicide, and an increased tolerance for pain. 
  • Bath salts cannot be smelled by detection dogs and will not be found in typical urinalysis, although they can be detected in urine and hair analyses using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry – which is very expensive in Kenya and would hardly be carried out by schools.