Bingeing, dependence, overdose, toxicity, methylenedioxymethamphetamine – the language associated with alcohol and other drugs can really suck the life out of the party. But in order to make adult choices about this most adult subject, it pays to have a base-level understanding of the lingo. After all, university students are collectively among Australia’s heaviest drinkers, and we’re more likely to experiment with illicit drugs while we’re in our 20s. And when misused and abused, drugs and alcohol can be deadly. So whether you’re a light-weight, a dabbler, a full-blown party animal or you’re struggling with addiction, understanding the facts is key to keeping yourself – and your friends – safe.

Your A-Z guide

A is for…

Alcohol (aka ‘booze, turps, liquor, grog’): technically ‘ethanol’, the drug we know as alcohol is a powerful and addictive depressant that’s produced by yeast digesting the sugars in foods like grapes or grains. More info here.

B is for…

Binge drinking (aka ‘getting maggoted, pre-loading’): classified as 7+ standard drinks in one sitting for men, and 5+ standard drinks per one sitting for women. More info here.

C is for…

Comedown (aka ‘hangover’): what goes up, as they say, must come down – and when you overindulge in drugs and/or alcohol you will suffer a hangover sooner or later. More info here.

And C is also for Cigarettes (aka ‘ciggies, durries, smokes’): smoking may seem like one of the ‘safer’ recreational drugs, but of the 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, at least 250 are known to be harmful. More info here.

D is for…

Diazepam (aka ‘Valium, benzos, sleeping pills’): an addictive central nervous system depressant commonly prescribed to treat anxiety or insomnia, and a common constituent in accidental overdose deaths. More info here.

E is for…

Empathogens (aka ‘love drugs’): a group of drugs, including MDMA (see XTC below), that release dopamine from the brain, resulting in feelings of friendliness, playfulness and empathy towards others. More info here.

F is for…

Fentanyl (aka ‘China White, poison’): prescribed for treatment of chronic, severe pain, fentanyl is about 80 to 100 times stronger than the powerful opioid, morphine. There is no safe dose of this drug. More info here.

G is for…

GHB (aka ‘fantasy’): gamma-hydroxybutyrate is a ‘party drug’ which can induce feelings of euphoria and increased libido. High doses can result in dizziness, vomiting, seizures and death. More info here.

H is for…

Heroin (aka ‘smack, harry, dope’): a powerful opioid ‘painkiller’, heroin is highly addictive and is increasingly responsible for accidental overdose deaths in Australia – especially when ‘cut’ with other opioids like fentanyl. More info here.

I is for…

Ice (aka ‘crystal meth, shabu, shard’): the purest, strongest and most addictive form of ‘speed’, the effects of ice range from increased alertness and energy, to severe anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, seizures, heart attack and death. More info here.

J is for…

Joint (aka ‘spliff’): a roll-your-own marijuana cigarette containing cannabis leaf and flower material cut with tobacco. More info here.

K is for…

Ketamine (aka ‘special K’): a powerful anaesthetic used by doctors and veterinarians, widely used as a recreational hallucinogenic ‘party drug’. More info here.

L is for…

LSD (aka ‘acid, trips, tabs’): lysergic acid diethylamide is a psychedelic hallucinogen, often distributed on small squares of blotting paper or sugar cubes. More info here.

M is for…

Magic mushrooms (aka ‘shrooms, mushies, gold tops’): naturally occurring fungi containing the powerful hallucinogen psilocybin. More info here.

N is for…

Nangs (aka ‘nitrous oxide, laughing gas, bulbs’): nitrous oxide is commonly used by doctors and dentists to sedate patients during minor procedures – even childbirth. In small doses, it can induce feelings of euphoria and numbness, but can also induce fainting and even heart attacks in large doses. More info here.

O is for…

Opioids (codeine, fentanyl, oxycodone etc.): powerful and addictive ‘painkillers’, opioids are responsible for more than half of all Australian overdose deaths. More info here.

P is for…

Pot (aka ‘grass, weed, marijuana, cannabis, herb’): usually the flowers and tips of the cannabis plant varieties indica and sativa, smoked or ingested with food – legal in several countries including parts of the USA – and the most widely used illicit drug in Australia. More info here.

Q is for…

Quarter (aka ‘bag’) either a quarter-ounce measure of drugs, or $25 worth of an illicit substance.

R is for…

Rehab (aka ‘rehabilitation’): a course of treatment for drug or alcohol dependence, sometimes held in a residential facility. For more info, book a 100% confidential consultation with one of our on-campus GPs.

S is for…

Stimulants (aka ‘uppers’): from your morning shot of caffeine to nicotine, cocaine and ice – legal and illicit stimulants are everywhere. Know the risks. More info here.

T is for…

Tincture (aka ‘oil’): a liquid cannabis extract which is consumed orally – widely used in the ever-growing field of medicinal marijuana. More info here.

U is for…

Under the influence (aka ‘intoxicated, high’): the point where psychoactive substances impact your decision-making and coordination – rendering you unfit for activities like driving. More info here.

V is for…

Vaping: an alternative to smoking, whereby the user inhales heated and flavoured liquid nicotine vapour – hence the name. More info here.

W is for…

Whizz (aka ‘speed, trucker, gak’): a powdered form of amphetamine, often ‘cut’ with other powders, which is snorted and usually far less potent than ice. More info here.

X is for…

XTC (aka ‘ecstasy, MDMA, pingers, pills’): its scientific name methylenedioxymethamphetamine didn’t really catch on, but ecstasy remains one of the most widely-used illicit substances for young Australians. Ecstasy has contributed to several highly publicised music festival overdose deaths. More info here.

Y is for…

Yard-glass (aka ‘yardie’): a bulbous glass cylinder filled with beer, historically consumed as a rite-of-passage at 21st birthdays, and made famous by former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke. More info here.

Z is for…

Zonked (aka ‘drunk, plastered, wasted, maggoted, smashed’): the point where drugs and/or alcohol render the user unfit for virtually any activity (even dancing). More info on how to help here.

Did you know?

Swinburne’s Hawthorn campus offers fully confidential on-site sessions at our Hawthorn campus, and all campuses offer general medical and counselling services. Call +61 3 9214 8483 to book an appointment or find out more.

Full list of health services