Drugs A to Z: Common Drug Names in Scotland

Public Health Scotland’s RADAR Team has released a guide to common drug names in Scotland. The Drugs A-Z document is designed to help emergency service call handlers identify, categorise and coordinate the response to drug-related emergencies. Brief descriptions of drug types and categories are included, as well as key street names.

The A-Z Guide is broken down into sections for each drug group:

1. Section title: e.g. Cannabinoids

  • This is the name of the category of drug. Drugs in the same category have similar effects.
  • Name, e.g. cannabis. This is the full name of the drug in that category.

2. Effects

These are the main effects of the drug category as reported in the resources. Effects are subjective and depend on the drug, set and setting. Factors influencing overall effect include:

  • Drug – type, frequency, amount, quality, route of administration and what it is mixed with.
  • Set – person’s age, sex, health, wellbeing, knowledge, experience and reasons for use.
  • Setting – company, support, location and time.

3. Overdose Signs

These are the most common signs of an overdose as reported in the resources. This list is not extensive. There’s a greater risk of overdose if someone mixes drugs, takes drugs alone, takes drugs after a break, takes more or higher-purity drugs than they are used to, or injects drugs.

4. Names

To inform the content of this resource PHS created a Drugs A–Z survey asking participants to rank street names using a scale of 1–5 where 1 means ‘never heard before’ and 5 means ‘very common’. Participants were also asked to share common names not included in the survey. Each street name was given an average score from over 250 responses.

Names scoring:
• 4–5 are ‘very common’
• 3–3.9 are ‘common’
• less than 3 are classed as ‘other’

PHS encourages people looking at this resource to learn the very common names for each drug. Where applicable, UK brand names are also given. As the street drugs market is unregulated, branding is no guarantee of contents.

This publication is licensed for re-use under the Open Government Licence v3.0 and can be downloaded here.

Photo by PHS

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