The street names for speed are extremely varied, especially because speed, in certain circles, is used to refer to both powdered methamphetamine and prescription stimulant drugs (usually amphetamines) which often start out in pill form and are crushed in order to be snorted. Different individuals may have different definitions of the term speed and knowing the other street names used interchangeably with speed can actually help you identify which drug is being discussed.
This can help you protect yourself and others from drug abuse and addiction. Speed itself is a street name, and there are some discrepancies about which drug is being discussed when the term is used. Knowing the other terms and what they mean is important when you are concerned about someone who is abusing speed.
Speed as a Street Term
Speed has been used as a street name for stimulant drugs for a long time, specifically any that are from the amphetamine drug family (including methamphetamine). These drugs are referred to as speed because they “are synthetic psychostimulant drugs that speed up the workings of the brain” (BHC). Because this term is a basic one for many stimulants, you may hear it and not be sure which drug in particular is being discussed which can be troubling.
Speed as a Street Name for Amphetamines
Amphetamines that are prescription-based are often abused by those who are looking for a fast high. These drugs are legally prescribed to treat ADHD, narcolepsy, and a few other conditions. Prescription amphetamines include drugs like:
In many cases, a person who wants to abuse these drugs will crush them and snort them in order to achieve the high much faster than they would from just swallowing them. These drugs may be referred to as speed by those who are looking to buy or sell them. They also have other names as well.
Speed as a Street Name for Methamphetamine
Rarely, methamphetamine can be prescribed as a medication that treats the same issues as other prescription amphetamines. However, when someone mentions speed and they are discussing methamphetamine, it is more likely that they mean the illicit version of the drug which is both produced and sold illegally. Speed is the powdered version of methamphetamine, usually snorted like the prescription amphetamines that are crushed into a power or injected (NSW).
Speed is one of the most common terms for meth and differs from the other ways the drug can be produced: crystal (usually referred to as ice) and liquid. Ice is a “highly purified form of methamphetamine with a crystal-like appearance.” It is usually smoked or injected.
Street Names for Speed
As the term speed can be used to mean a few different types of drugs, it is important to know which type of drug is actually being discussed. This makes it much more likely that you’ll be able to help someone in need or protect someone in the event that they overdose on the drug or if something else dangerous happens to occur.
CESAR lists some of the more commonly used terms for speed when it is being used as a street name for illicit, powdered methamphetamine. These terms may be more commonly used in certain areas than in others, but all are used to refer to methamphetamine:
- Redneck cocaine
- Yellow powder
- Yellow barn
Also there are several other slang terms for methamphetamine that can be smoked. While speed is a powder and will not usually be referred to in these terms, hearing them during a conversation may help you realize that you are dealing with meth and not prescription amphetamines. They are:
- Crystal meth
- Hot ice
- Super ice
- L.A. ice
- L.A. glass
Listening for these other street names for speed (or powdered meth), you can determine if an individual is actually abusing meth instead of prescription amphetamines. The latter, on the other hand, is still dangerous and an individual who is discussing speed may still be talking about prescription amphetamine abuse.
As stated by CESAR, here is a list of the some of the commonly used street names for speed as a prescription amphetamine drug.
- General speed/amphetamine street names
- Black beauties
- Lid poppers
- Pep pills
- White crosses
- Dextroamphetamine street names
Dextroamphetamine is another type of amphetamine that may be prescribed on its own (Dexedrine) or with amphetamine (Adderall). Any of these street terms listed above will help you be sure that the individual is discussing prescription amphetamines and not meth when they use the term speed. This knowledge can be incredibly helpful to you in many ways.
There are also a few other terms which may help with the distinction.
- The terms speed runs, on the run, or speed freaks all refer to individuals who have been abusing injectable meth for a prolonged amount of time (usually several days).
- Goofballs refer to amphetamines and barbiturates taken together.
- Speedballs refer to meth and heroin being abused together.
Why Know the Difference?
It is important to know the difference between these two types of speed because of the possible implications of different drugs of abuse. For example, if someone is abusing prescription stimulants, they may not be in as much danger. They will likely still need treatment, but if they’ve only been abusing the drug for a short while, they will be in better shape. Illicit meth abusers, however, are more likely to have been addicted to other drugs before they turned to meth. In many cases, these individuals become tolerant to other drugs and that is why they start abusing a stronger drug like meth.
Of course, it is very possible that someone may be extremely addicted to prescription stimulants or have just started taking meth when you realize what is happening. The most important thing to do is talk to the person and seek treatment for them if necessary. The term speed can mean many different things, and it is important to use different street names you may hear in order to narrow down your information and to be better aware of the individual’s needs.