The following is a list I’ve collected of the most common illicit drugs in the West, including both the English names, and Chinese translations and pinyin.
This collection should be useful for translating and interpreting students practicing in legal, police and medical contexts. I would recommend you learn all of this vocabulary if you want to be confident in this particular area.
The common drug name is provided in bold; alternative names are given in parentheses. I look forward to hearing from your corrections and additions if you have any – I’m definitely no expert in this area!
12 Illicit Drugs in English and Chinese
- Marijuana (cannabis, weed; pot): 大麻 dàmá
- Ecstasy (X): 摇头丸 yáotóuwán
- Prescription drugs: 处方药 chǔfāngyào
- Methamphetamine (meth; crystal meth; ice): 甲基苯丙胺 jiǎjī běnbǐng’àn (chemical name); 冰毒 bīngdú (common street name)
- Cocaine (coke): 可卡因 kěkǎyīn
- Heroin (smack): 海洛因 hǎiluòyīn; 白粉 bǎifěn
- Painkillers (analgesics): 镇痛药 zhèntòngyào
- LSD (acid): 迷幻剂 míhuànjì
- Opium: 鸦片 yāpiàn
- Ketamine (special K): 氯胺酮 lǜ’āntóng (chemical name); K粉 k fěn (common street name)
- Inhalants: 吸入剂 xīrùjì
- Magic mushrooms (shrooms): 迷幻蘑菇 míhuàn mógu