Substance Abuse: Medical and Slang Terminology

Humera Hamid, BA; Rif S. El-Mallakh, MD; Keith Vandeveir, CADC


South Med J. 2005;98(3):350-362. 

In This Article


Slang terms

Booze, beverage, juice, sauce, brew, vino

Active ingredient

Ethanol, ethyl alcohol


Natural (from fruits, grains, vegetables)

Pharmacological classification

CNS depressant

Medical use

Solvent, antiseptic, sedative, historically used to delay premature labor

Abuse form

Clear absolute alcohol liquid diluted and/or blended as wine, beer, liquor (distilled spirits) or liqueur. Small amounts used in products such as mouthwash and cough medicine. Non-beverage isopropyl alcohol and methyl alcohol are "alley juice" drinks for street alcoholics and teenagers.

Usage Method

Taken orally, applied topically, experimentally provided by inhalation

Effects Sought

Intoxication, sensory alteration, anxiety reduction

Adverse Effects

Toxic psychosis, neurologic and liver damage, fetal alcohol syndrome

Detectable In Urine

Yes (also detectable in exhaled gas and levels can be measured in plasma)


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