You have to give police officials in the UK and “A” for effort on this one. To aid officers in fighting their war on drugs, the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) has drafted a document that catalogs 2,875 words and phrases, used by commonly by drug criminals.
The reason being that, the cops have to know what the hell some crackhead is talking about when they rant about their “Aunt Hazel” or scoring some “Tina”. While doing my civic duty, two years ago I was a juror on a drug case and the cops had to translate the street terms for us. We learned that “Tina” or “Tina Turner tickets” was code for crystal meth. The words “snow” and “going skiing” were pretty self explanatory for cocaine. So the need for a guide makes sense.
The words that the Brits have come up with are interesting and make me wonder, if two junkies or dealers get together do they automatically know what the other one is talking about? Is it a generational thing? Here’s an excerpt from the UK Telegraph:
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).
Why!? When did Hazel, Mary, and Nora become associated with drugs?
The names of some celebrities are also used as codes for drugs by criminals, including “Kate Bush”, for marijuana, and “Jerry Springer”, for heroin.
I would have thought that Jerry Springer would be a shoe-in for crystal meth given his following among the Mountain Dew set. Where is Rush Limbaugh? With his familiarity with hillbilly heroin or oxycontin it just seemed like a given.
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).
Considering the stuff that Felix pulled out of his bag of tricks– the LSD thing makes a lot of sense.
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 “ice cream 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.”
And here’s the full list from the paper’s website: