I felt like I had fallen into a bowl of alphabet soup when I began my job with an international organization. In addition to learning new responsibilities, I had the challenge of mastering the peculiar jargon. FBI is not what you think. In this organization it stands for Florida Business Institute. You guessed it; TMI doesn’t stand for “too much information.” As a matter of fact, I’m sure “Territorial Music Institute” never popped into your head.
Parents are similar to employees absorbing the vernacular of their workplace. To survive one’s job, learning and understanding the company language is critical. To survive our teenagers, we need to familiarize ourselves with the terms for drugs and the environments in which they are bought and used.
Here’s a brief look at a few of the common drugs. See if you recognize any of the slang terms.
Marijuana, the drug that blasted onto the hippie, love-child scene in the 60s, has many names: Mary Jane, reefer, whacky tabbacky, Black Bart, and Aunt Mary to name a few.
Cocaine goes by: Bib C, Bernice, Aunt Nora, C-dust, Chippy, Dama Blanca and blow.
Pain pills hide behind: Oxys, Blues, Percs, OC, Morph, Kicker, Benzos, Bricks. Gatherings where prescription drugs are used are called pharming parties. Trail mix refers to various prescription drugs mixed together like Chex Mix or trail mix.
Ecstasy tablets are usually imprinted with pirated trademark logos such as Calvin Klein, Mitsubishi and Donald Duck and are used like a code. For instance, I overheard a young man tell someone he had a new Mitsubishi. I thought he had a new car, but he was discussing Ecstasy pills. Another common name for this drug is beans.
I was at a commercial diagnostic lab several years ago to have blood drawn. The facility performs employment blood and urine screens and it was in that setting I overheard a conversation between two young men:
#1: “Man, I’ve got about a thousand beans!” the first young man announced.
#2: “No @!#%! Where are they?”
#1: “My brother and I have ‘em stashed in a can. You interested?”
The lab technician called #2’s name and he left the waiting room. I looked at #1 and said, “Have you ever seen anyone overdose?”
“Uh, no ma’am.”
“My son almost died from an overdose and it is not a pretty thing to watch. I know what you’re talking about—the beans. I know you are selling Ecstasy, and I hope you get caught.”
The young men spoke openly about Ecstasy, presuming no one would know about “beans.” That’s how it works. The kids talk all around their parents or other adults with confidence because most of us are clueless.
Do your kids sound like they sometimes speak in tongues? To the untrained parent, teacher, or youth leader, the lingo makes no sense.
What can parents do to combat the language barrier? The Internet is an instant source to drug information. It’s easy. Type the drug name plus “slang terms” (Cocaine slang terms) in the search line and hit “Enter.” Multiple sites are yours to browse. Resources abound to assist parents. Use the available tools; familiarize yourself with your child’s culture and listen for the buzz words.
Another excellent resource is a publication called Street Drugs by Publishers Group. It is a pictorial guide to the drugs most commonly used, including the street names. The magazine carries brief descriptions of the signs of usage and other helpful information. The website is www.streetdrugs.org.
The Internet and other resources is your Cracker Jacks decoder ring. Sure, young people speak their own language, but parents today have a wealth of information at their fingertips if they take advantage of it. Use the “decoder” tools and be prepared.