Opium is one of the oldest addictive drugs, and there are many slang names that people have come up with to call it rather than its true name.
Opium Street Names
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Opium is a highly addictive opiate extracted from Papaver somniferum, the poppy plant.1,2 Many narcotics are made from the poppy plant, including heroin, morphine, and codeine. If you are worried someone you care, especially a teen, about is misusing opium, they may not speak openly about the drug, but rather, they may use opium street names when talking to dealers or friends.
In this article:
- Street Names for Opium
- What Does Opium Look Like?
- How Do People Use Opium?
- Signs That Someone is Using Opium
Street Names for Opium
People can use street names for opium to make selling, purchasing, or using opium more discrete and easy to cover up. Some opium drug street names are:1
- Aunti Emma
- Big O
- Black Pill
- Chinese Molasses
- Chinese Tobacco
- Dover’s Powder
- Dream Gun
- Dream Stick
- Easing Powder
- God’s Medicine
- Great Tobacco
- Joy Plant
- Midnight Oil
- Pen Yan
- Pin Gon
Keep in mind, slang is always changing and evolving, so this is by no means a comprehensive list of opium street names, but it is a good place to start. If you hear your child or friend using these terms, this may indicate that they’re using opium.
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What Does Opium Look Like?
Opium is a natural drug derived from the poppy plant. Poppy plants have a milky fluid that people can cultivate—used to make opium. Opium can be a liquid, solid, or fine, brownish powder.4 Opium can have a pungent, vinegary smell.
How Do People Use Opium?
Opium can be used in a few different ways. People may inject it, smoke it, or take it as a pill. Sometimes, people combine opium with other substances, such as marijuana or methamphetamine.1
Signs That Someone is Using Opium
If you have a loved one who you suspect is using opium, it can be helpful to know the opium street names. Awareness of slang terms for opium can help you know if your loved one is trying to talk covertly about their opium use. It can also be helpful to be aware of the warning signs and symptoms that someone is using opium.
There are physical and behavioral warning signs. Physical warning signs of opium use include:7
- Small pupils
- Slowed breathing
- Non-responsiveness such as being unable to wake up or be woken up
- Change in appetite, such as eating more or less than usual
- Weight loss or gain
- Intense flu-like symptoms such as nausea or vomiting
- Wearing long-sleeves or hiding arms due to intravenous use
Behavioral signs include:7
- Change in attitude or personality, such as being more irritable or anxious
- Isolating from family or friends
- Changes in friends, hobbies, or activities that used to be enjoyed before
- Declined performance in school or work
- Moodiness, irritability, or nervousness
Other warning signs of opium use may involve finding paraphernalia or other environmental cues, such as:7
- Finding burnt or missing spoons or bottle caps
- Finding syringes or small bags with powdery residue in their things
- Discovering you are missing shoelaces or belts. Someone injecting opium may use shoelaces or belts to make it easier to locate a vein.
If your loved one continues to misuse opium, there is an increased risk of developing a physiological dependence or opium addiction.8
Signs Your Loved One Have Opioid Use Disorder
If someone you love is purchasing opium illegally, they might be struggling with an opium addiction, also known as an opioid use disorder (OUD). According to the American Psychiatric Association, someone has OUD or opium addiction if at least two of the following symptoms are present:9
- Using opium in larger amounts or over a longer period than they originally intended
- Experiencing an ongoing desire or unsuccessful attempts to cut back or control opium use
- Spending a great deal of time trying to get opium, use it, or recover from using it
- Experiencing strong desires or urges to use opium
- Using opium leads to an inability to fulfill work, home, or school responsibilities
- Continuing to use despite negative consequences
- Giving up important relationships or hobbies because of opium use
- Continuing to use opium even when it’s physically dangerous to do so
- Continuing to use opium even if it worsens a physical or mental condition
- Developing tolerance, which means they need more opium to get high
- Experiencing opium withdrawal symptoms when they don’t have access to it or abruptly quit
How to Approach a Loved One
It can be overwhelming, scary, and intimidating for your loved one to admit that they need help recovering from opium use or addiction. But they should know they aren’t alone, and that recovery is possible. If you aren’t sure how to approach your loved one about their opium use, you might want to contact a professional interventionist. They can hold an intervention that helps your loved one understand how their opium use is affecting you and can also motivate them to enter treatment for their opium addiction.
No matter what, it’s important to remember to approach your loved one from a compassionate and nonjudgmental perspective. You never want to blame or shame them about their opium misuse, as this may cause them to become defensive and avoid listening to you. Plus, people with addiction typically are already struggling with immense amounts of shame in the first place—you don’t want to add to it. Instead, you want them to know that they are loved and cared for and that you want to help them in any way possible. And that includes assisting them in finding the right addiction treatment program for them, if they are ready to do so.
If someone you know could benefit from opium misuse or addiction treatment, please call 800-407-7195(Who Answers?) to speak with a treatment specialist. We can help you find an opium rehab that’s right for your loved one.
- Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration. (2020, April) Opium.
- Oregon.gov (n.d) Opiates or Opioids — What’s the difference?
- National Institutes of Health. (n.d) Street & Commercial Names.
- The United States Department of Justice. (2022, February 10) Opioids Facts.
- National Library of Medicine. (2020, May 10) Opiate and opioid withdrawal.
- National Library of Medicine. (n.d) Opioid overdose.
- New York State. (2017, December) Opioids: Recognizing the Signs.
- National Library of Medicine. (n.d) Opioid Misuse and Addiction.
- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Substance-related disorders. In Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (pp. 483). American Psychiatric Publishing.