This list provides examples of commonly used illegal drugs used in South Africa

Including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, crystal meth and club drugs. We give their commercial and street names, how they are taken, their effects, health risks, and other information.


Links to dedicated page
Examples of Commercial & Street Names
How Administered**
MARIJUANA blunt, dope, ganja, grass, herb, joint, bud, mary jane, pot, reefer, green, trees, smoke, sinsemilla, skunk, weed smoked, swallowed

MARIJUANAAcute Effects: Euphoria; relaxation; slowed reaction time; distorted sensory perception; impaired balance and coordination; increased heart rate and appetite; impaired learning, memory; anxiety; panic attacks; psychosis

Health Risks: Cough; frequent respiratory infections; possible mental health decline; addiction


Links to dedicated page
Examples of Commercial & Street Names
How Administered**
HEROIN Diacetylmorphine: smack, horse, brown sugar, dope, H, junk, skag, skunk, white horse, China white; cheese (with OTC cold medicine and antihistamine) (withdrawal info)

nayope, whoonga, ma’sugar  (heroin & marijuana + anything else mix ) a South African invention  – very addictive

injected, smoked, snorted
SYNTHETIC OPIOIDS  fentanyl, oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine  injected, swallowed, smoked


Acute Effects: Euphoria; drowsiness; impaired coordination; dizziness; confusion; nausea; sedation; feeling of heaviness in the body; slowed or arrested breathing
Health Risks: Constipation; endocarditis; hepatitis; HIV; extreme addiction; fatal overdose
Nayope (Woonga) addictive psychosis


Links to dedicated page
Examples of Commercial & Street Names
How Administered**
COCAINE Cocaine hydrochloride: blow, bump, C, candy, Charlie, coke, crack, flake, rock, snow, toot snorted, smoked, injected
METHAMPHETAMINE tik, desoxyn, meth, ice, crank, chalk, crystal, fire, glass, go fast, speed swallowed, snorted, smoked, injected
FLAKKA  Gravel, bath salts, salt, cath
Synthetic alpha-pryrrolidinopentiophenone (alpha-pvp).
Derived from cathinone
swallowed, snorted, smoked, injected

Acute Effects: Increased heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, metabolism; feelings of exhilaration; increased energy, mental alertness; tremors; reduced appetite; irritability; anxiety; panic; paranoia; violent behavior; psychosis

  • Health Risks: Weight loss; insomnia; cardiac or cardiovascular complications; stroke; seizures; addiction





Cocaine – nasal damage from snorting
Methamphetamine – severe dental problems
Flakka – rapid heart rate, extreme aggression, psychosis, severe hallucinations, seizure, raised body temperature, high blood pressure, death


Links to dedicated page
Examples of Commercial & Street Names
 How Administered**
MDMA  ecstasy, adam, clarity, Eve, lovers’ speed, mercedes, molly, peace, uppers(METHYLENEDIOXY METHAMPHETAMINE) swallowed, snorted, injected
GHB*** gamma-hydroxybutyrate: G, blue, bluejuice, liquid ecstasy, soap, scoop, goop, liquid X swallowed

Acute Effects:

  • MDMA –mild hallucinogenic effects; increased tactile sensitivity, empathic feelings; lowered inhibition; anxiety; chills; sweating; teeth clenching; muscle
  • GHB – drowsiness; nausea; headache; disorientation; loss of coordination; memory loss

Health Risks:

    • MDMA – sleep disturbances; depression; impaired memory; hyperthermia; addictionMDNA
    • GHB –unconsciousness; seizures; comaGHB


Links to dedicated page
Examples of Commercial & Street Names
How Administered**
KETAMINE ketalar sv: cat valium, K, special K, vitamin K injected, snorted, smoked
LEAN  (Cough Syrup) Found in some cough and cold medications: swallowed

Acute Effects: Feelings of being separate from one’s body and environment; impaired motor function

Ketamine – analgesia; impaired memory; delirium; respiratory depression and arrest; death

Lean – euphoria; slurred speech; confusion; dizziness; distorted visual perceptions

Health Risks: Anxiety; tremors; numbness; memory loss; nausea


Name Examples of Commercial & Street Names How Administered**
LSD lysergic acid diethylamide: acid, blotter, cubes, microdot, yellow sunshine, blue heaven swallowed, absorbed through mouth tissues

Acute Effects: Altered states of perception and feeling; hallucinations; nausea
Also, for LSD and mescaline – increased body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure; loss of appetite; sweating; sleeplessness; numbness; dizziness; weakness; tremors; impulsive behavior; rapid shifts in emotion

Also, for psilocybin – nervousness; paranoia; panic

Health Risks: Also, for LSD – Flashbacks, Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder


 Name Examples of Commercial & Street Names How Administered**


solvents (paint thinners, gasoline, glues); gases (butane, propane, aerosol propellants, nitrous oxide); nitrites (isoamyl, isobutyl, cyclohexyl): laughing gas, poppers, snappers, whippets inhaled through nose or mouth

Acute Effects

Inhalants  (varies by chemical) stimulation; loss of inhibition; headache; nausea or vomiting; slurred speech; loss of motor coordination; wheezing

Health Risks:
Inhalants – cramps; muscle weakness; depression; memory impairment; damage to cardiovascular and nervous systems; unconsciousness; sudden death

** Some of the health risks are directly related to the route of drug administration. For example, injection drug use can increase the risk of infection through needle contamination with staphylococci, HIV, hepatitis and other organisms.
*** Associated with sexual assaults.

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