button, noun

Origin:
U.S. EnglishShow more Probably a transferred use of U.S. English button ‘a small quantity of narcotic’.
slang
a. Among drug-users: a methaqualone tablet (trade name Mandrax), often crushed and smoked with dagga (marijuana): see white pipe (pipe sense 2 b).
1979 [see stop sense 1 a].
1980 Cape Times 12 Sept. 4Glossary of gang slang...Button, Mandrax tablet.
1982 Sunday Times 4 July 21After selling the cameras, the two men bought 15 ‘buttons’ (mandrax tablets), which they crushed and smoked.
1985 Drum Dec. 26He..received money from time to time and was able to smoke 30 to 40 ‘white pipes’ a day containing two ‘buttons’ (mandrax tablets).
1986 Cosmopolitan Dec. 83We call mandrax tablets ‘buttons’. You crush them up and smoke them with zoll through a broken bottle neck.
1991 J. Anderson in Focus on Afr. JulySept. 82There are dealers on every street corner, selling a potent mix of cannabis and ‘buttons’ — white mandrax tablets. According to Deon Daniels, resident DJ at the Base, the drug problem runs deep. ‘The Mandrax drug is easily obtainable...And the little kids are smoking it.’
1993 Fair Lady 21 Apr. 76Mandrax...The ‘buttons’ as the drug is called on the street are often hidden in the seams of saris. ‘Buttons’ are produced in Bombay at a cost of about 30 cents a tablet. In South Africa the same tablet is sold..for R20.
b. combinations
button-kop /-kɔp/ noun [Afrikaans kop head, as in U.S. English -head user of (a drug)], a Mandrax user.
1984 Cape Times 19 Apr.When a ‘button-kop’ (Mandrax user) like me puts out his hand, he needs immediate help...Mandrax..is the most readily available and the most used drug in Cape Town.
1991 C. Broster Informant, Cape TownButton kop. Mandrax addict. That guy’s really hooked; a total button kop.
a methaqualone tablet (trade name Mandrax), often crushed and smoked with dagga (marijuana): see white pipepipe2 b.
, a Mandrax user.
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