Justice

No, Donald Trump is Not a Common Nickname for Meth

If you ask a drug dealer for some "Donald Trump," odds are you won't get meth.

meth

Yet, in an underground market where cash rules everything, a new survey claims that every drug seemingly has a celebrity nickname. Researchers for anti-drug use site Addictions.com say their online survey gathered responses from 2,000 people who say they are current and former drug users—not exactly a scientific approach.

Let's run down the list of purported celebrity code words for different drugs.

"Donald Trump" = Meth

trump

House Speaker "Nancy Pelosi" = LSD

nancy-pelosi

Richard "Nixon" = Marijuana

Nixon with edited transcripts of Nixon White House Tape

"Malcolm X" = Ecstasy

malcolm

Former Supreme Leader of North Korea "Kim Jong-il" = Crack cocaine

kim

"Chris Farley" = Opiates

chris

"Lady Gaga" = Cocaine

lady-gaga

"Chuck Norris" = Heroin

chuck

"Mario" = Magic mushrooms

mario

"Benjamin Franklin" = Benzodiazepines

benjamin

The thing about this list is that some nicknames might seem like common sense based on shared phonetic traits—like "Malcolm X" for ecstasy or "Benjamin Franklin" for benzos. But others assume a level of domestic and foreign politics savvy that makes it hard to believe.

Other experts don't back the study's claims. The Drug Enforcement Administration maintains an updated list of drug slang words based on intelligence from law enforcement sources around the country. Its May 2017 report does not include any of the celebrity nicknames referenced in the study.

Logan Freedman, a data scientist who conducted the Addictions.com study, conceded that there were limitations to the study, which is not peer-reviewed.

"While we were hoping to get larger responses from each of those individual drug users, unfortunately this was the most that we could get via this methodology," Freedman told ATTN:. "It's still just about enough that it was worth highlighting, but again, we always would like to have a much larger sample size."

For example, the study found that just eight out of 226 respondents (3.5 percent) said they used "Trump" or "Donald Trump" to get meth. Only 13 out of 217 respondents said "Nancy Pelosi" meant acid. And three out of 95 respondents claimed to use the code word "Kim Jong-il" for crack cocaine.

"The main goal is to raise awareness around drug addiction and to help people get the help that they need," Freedman said. "Whenever we create a study, the goal is to focus on how drugs have become ubiquitous in society and how people can be talking about them—specific for this study, how people can be talking about drugs and you might not even realize it."

Side note: the survey also mentioned that common food items can be coded language for drugs. Marijuana is "pizza," for example, which is "perhaps commonly associated because marijuana is sold in fractions of an ounce similar to the way pizza slices are cut and served," the survey author wrote. That rationale is substantiated by one Urban Dictionary submission that, like the survey as a whole, lacks scientific rigor.

urban dictionary

Using terms like "Trump" for meth or "pizza" for marijuana might be part of an effort to "stay under the radar" because "a large portion of society" is talking about the president, Freedman said. But in a couple years, he expects users and dealers to adopt new language that's consistent with the times.