Sometimes street names of drugs sound so benign that you wouldn’t have any reason to believe that a person is talking about a drug. Names for benzos — or benzodiazepines — are the same way. Street names are used for a variety of reasons, mostly because drug users and dealers don’t want to refer directly to the drug in case they are in mixed company, or in case there are police nearby.
Consider the reaction in a high school if a student drops the word heroin into a conversation that is overheard. There is sure to be a swift and strong reaction among the students and faculty. But if they say “Brown sugar” or “cheese,” which is in fact a reference to a combination of heroin and cough medication, then the conversation is likely to be ignored.
Street names are part of a culture of substance abuse, so it is helpful to know and understand different names for common drugs in order to help those you love who may be tempted to use and abuse drugs like benzodiazepines.
The Basics of Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs typically prescribed for the treatment of anxiety and or insomnia. There is naturally a high potential for benzodiazepine abuse, even with those who have a prescription for a legitimate need. Benzodiazepines relax the muscles, have sedative effects, work as hypnotics and also work as anticonvulsants. They are marketed under a number of different names, but each of these drugs falls into the class of benzodiazepines.
Some of the brand names of these drugs include the following:
These drugs carry some very serious side-effects, even when they are used as prescribed.
- Memory loss
- Decrease in blood pressure
- Respiratory concerns (like respiratory distress)1
Benzodiazepine overdose is a common threat, particularly for those abusing and misusing the drugs, especially when combined with alcohol or other drugs.
Benzo Street Names
As a loved one concerned about the benzodiazepine addiction your family member is struggling with, you can best serve him or her by being well-informed about the addiction and how to best help.
Benzodiazepine medications are often prescribed for legitimate reasons, but many people become addicted and then must find illegitimate prescriptions or buy pills illegally on the street to sustain their habit. Addiction often perpetuates lies, deception and the intense desire to cover up drug usage, even with those closest to the person fighting the addiction. This is often where street names are used in order to try to conceal the problem.
Some of the most common names used in place of benzodiazepine drugs include the following:
- Chill pills
- French Fries
- Sleeping pills
- Totem poles
- Z Bars
The more awareness you have about benzodiazepine abuse and the street names that your loved one might be using to cover up his illegal benzodiazepine use, the better prepared you will be to provide help.
Getting Help for Benzodiazepine Addiction
To get more benzodiazepine information, and to learn about your loved one’s options for rehab, please call our 24-hour, toll-free helpline at the number on this page. Our admissions coordinators can provide you with the valuable information you need to guide your loved one down the path of sobriety.
1 Ogbru, Annette, "Benzodiazepines." RxList.com. Accessed June 15, 2018.
2 "Substance use - prescription drugs." Medline Plus. November 2014.