Commonly used drugs

Learn about the name and appearance of commonly used drugs.

Methamphetamine Ice

Ice is a stimulant drug that speeds up messages between the brain and body. It is normally the strongest and most addictive form of methamphetamine. It is also known as: 

  • crystal meth
  • glass
  • Tina
  • Shabs
  • Shabu
  • meth 
  • crystal. 

Ice is normally smoked or injected.

Methamphetamine also comes in two other forms, Base and Speed. It is taken either by swallowing, injecting or snorting (speed). 

What does methamphetamine ‘ice’ look like? 

Ice is translucent substance that takes the form of either crystals or shards. The base is a white to brown thick oily substance and speed is a white or off-white powder. 

MDMA and ecstasy

They may also be known as: 

  • caps
  • pingers
  • E
  • doopa
  • love drug
  • disco biscuits
  • XTC
  • eccy. 

What does ecstasy look like?

Ecstasy is usually sold in pill form, although it can also be sold as powder, crystals, or in capsules. Pills usually have a logo stamped on them. However, a logo is no guarantee of quality or purity: two pills that look the same may have very different effects as they can come from different sources and have different ingredients.


Cocaine is a stimulant drug that is known by a variety of names in Australia:

  • coke
  • blow
  • Charlie
  • C
  • dust
  • flake
  • nose candy
  • snow
  • white
  • crack
  • rock
  • freebase.

What does cocaine look like? 

Cocaine that comes in three main forms:

  • A paste that is often off-white or light brown.
  • A powder which is often white or off-white.
  • A white or off-white crystal rock known as crack cocaine.

The powder is most common in Australia and is often used by snorting into the nose. The powder is often ‘cut’ (mixed) with other white powder substances that can also be harmful.

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide)

LSD is the most commonly known hallucinogen drug that causes perceptual distortions such as changing shapes or colours. People may also experience unusual thoughts, feelings, or beliefs. 

LSD is also known as: 

  • acid
  • trips 
  • tabs.

What does LSD look like? 

LSD is an odourless white powder that can be dissolved in water. It may also be soaked up on blotting paper, sugar cubes or microdots (little gelatine balls), or as a liquid, tablet or capsule. 

GHB (Gamma-hydroxybutyrate)

GHB is normally swallowed. Problems with safety, including concerns about its use in date rape, have led to it being banned in several countries including Australia where sale and possession is illegal. GHB is also known as: 

  • fantasy
  • grievous bodily harm
  • GBH
  • Gina. 

It is also referred to as liquid ecstasy or liquid E even though there is no relation to ecstasy at all. 

What does GHB look like? 

It is almost always sold as a clear or blue odourless liquid. It is usually in a little vial such as a fish-shaped sushi soy sauce container.

Nitrous oxide

May also be known as:

  • Laughing gas
  • Nitrous
  • Whippets
  • Bulbs
  • Nangs

What does nitrous oxide look like?

Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas. It is typically discharged from nitrous gas cartridges (bulbs or whippets) into another object, such as a balloon or directly into the mouth.

More information

Visit the Positive Choices website for detailed information about party drugs.

Drugs A-Z on the Positive Choices website has detailed information about other drugs and alcohol. 


Date last updated:

Help us improve

If you would like a response please use the enquiries form instead.