Created By: gallium on November 7, 2013 Last Edited By: gallium on December 11, 2013
Troped

Drugs Are Good

Chemical substances consumed for recreational purposes? Sure. That's good. Very, very good.

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Drugs Are Bad, right? They're dangerous. You can get addicted. You could overdose. They have harmful side effects. You could bankrupt yourself, ruin your career, catch diseases from dirty needles. Drugs are bad!

But what if they aren't bad?

Maybe you take a drug and you feel really awesome. Maybe drugs lighten your bad mood. Maybe they make life more exciting. Maybe spiking the punch makes the Wild Teen Party a lot more fun. Drugs are good! (OK, probably not.)

As the title indicates, Drugs Are Good is the inverse of Drugs Are Bad. This trope is for instances in fiction and creative works where the use of drugs and alcohol is portrayed in a positive light. Drugs Are Good is most frequently seen with cigarettes and alcohol, which have always been more or less socially acceptable. It also may accompany depictions of marijuana use, given the common perception of marijuana as a less harmful drug than other illegal drugs. Invocations of Drugs Are Good with harder drugs such as cocaine and heroin are rarer, but not unknown.

Many Stoner Flicks are examples of this. Ode to Intoxication is the musical equivalent, if it's played straight. Related tropes include Drunken Master (getting drunk/stoned makes you better at something) and Smoking Is Cool (which is about signaling a character is cool but does involve a positive portrayal of smoking).

Compare with Higher Understanding Through Drugs, which isn't so much "drugs are good" (it's often depicted as a creepy or forceful effect) as "drugs are useful".

The Functional Addict may believe this but they really aren't an example. The Smug Straight Edge or the Dry Crusader may pop up in a Drugs Are Good work.


Examples

Advertising
  • Most every commercial or print advertisement for beer and alcohol is this. A commercial can't tell you how the beer tastes, but it can show you some cool-looking people drinking beer at a party.
  • Cigarette advertisements did this as well before government regulations drove them from the air. Camel cigarettes, preferred by doctors! The Marlboro Man remained in print ads as an example of masculinity until 1999.

Comic Books
  • Being an expy of Hunter S. Thompson, Spider Jerusalem of Transmetropolitan does all his best writing on drugs. Makes his assistants take up smoking at the very least (cancer is curable). Though he does go on the occasional binge where he's too out of it to do anything.

Film
  • As noted above, many (but not all) Stoner Flicks are this. The Harold and Kumar series, where a heartwarming moment is Kumar's girlfriend telling him to use her pee to beat drug tests, is a good example.
  • The Mystery of the Leaping Fish is a very strange short film from 1916 starring Douglas Fairbanks as a private detective named Coke Ennyday who really, really likes cocaine. He is constantly shooting up with cocaine and laughing like a maniac. He defeats the bad guys by jabbing them with cocaine syringes until they're as high as he is.
  • Poltergeist. Diane and Steven Freeling are shown smoking a marijuana cigarette together and having a great time.
  • The Thin Man and its sequels. Nick Charles drinks and drinks and drinks, and it appears to do nothing but make him more witty and charming.
  • In the film Mac and Devin Go to High School the CG joint narrator filibusters about how weed is good and should be legalized. In the story proper, weed is also what helps the valedictorian finally relax and enjoy his life.
  • The Breakfast Club: Bender brings some grass he had stashed in his school locker and the kids have an eighties montage over smoking it in the school library during detention.
  • Played with in Biopic satire Walk Hard. Dewey Cox does in fact have drug problems that force him into rehab. But his bandmate Sam, who introduces him to each drug in turn as a Running Gag, seems to have no problem with drugs other than resenting Dewey for never paying for them. And Sam gets off an epic defense of marijuana.
    Sam: No, Dewey, you don't want this. Get outta here!
    Dewey Cox: You know what, I don't want no hangover. I can't get no hangover.
    Sam: It doesn't give you a hangover!
    Dewey: Wha-I get addicted to it or something?
    Sam: It's not habit-forming!
    Dewey: Oh, okay...well, I don't know...I don't want to overdose on it.
    Sam: You can't OD on it!
    Dewey: It's not gonna make me wanna have sex, is it?
    Sam: It makes sex even better!
    Dewey: Sounds kind of expensive.
    Sam: It's the cheapest drug there is.

Literature
  • The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is Tom Wolfe's account of Ken Kesey and his bus full of hippies going on a road trip across America, dropping acid and enjoying themselves.
  • Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom: Since addiction is easily cured and health consequences don't mean much to immortals, there are casual in-passing references to the main character's girlfriend smoking crack.
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The epic, Very Loosely Based on a True Story tale of Hunter S. Thompson's drug-fueled adventures in Las Vegas. The preface quotes Samuel Johnson: "He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man." The book is about Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo (Thompson's avatars for himself and Oscar Acosta) indulging in copious amounts of drugs in order to escape the decline of American culture and the failure of the counterculture movement.
    (first line) "We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold..."
  • Iain M Bank's The Culture novels have all narcotics and recreational drugs available to the entire population. Since, in that setting, you can sober up instantly if you have to and all medical problems are pretty much instantly curable too, they are just another fun way to pass the day.

Live-Action TV
  • Mad Men has multiple examples of this. Peggy Olson lights up a joint more than once and always enjoys herself. Roger Sterling takes LSD, loves it, and tries to get his friends to do it too. (On the other hand, the series has always taken a dark view of alcohol abuse.)
    • Season 1 provides a meta example, as Don is trying to come up with an advertising campaign for Lucky Strike cigarettes.
  • Spaced: Recreational drug use is a) rather prominent and b) not a big deal.
  • The L Word: Most of the cast is shown using some form of marijuana at various points, and Shane even dabbles in harder drugs, to no ill effect.
  • Fringe: Various cases are solved with the assistance of narcotics, Olivia Dunham spends much of the pilot on homemade LSD in a sensory deprivation tank, Walter is constantly using psychotropics (on himself and others), and one of his former test subjects, while decidedly loopy as a result of her LSD-induced trances, is entirely happy and expresses her gratitude to Walter years later - with a kiss.
    • Walter uses a bong, which is still pretty rare on American network television. And Episode 3x19 is called "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide". That's LSD, kids. Astrid is the only member of the central cast who hasn't been under the influence of drugs onscreen at some point.
  • Episode 1-4 of Chappelle's Show featured a parody of the TRUTH.com anti-smoking ads ("TRUF.com") in which the announcer says that cigarette smoking causes "feelings of euphoria, increased alertness, rises in short-term memory, and can have a calming effect on nerves."
    Dave: And they're not bad after unprotected sex with multiple partners, neither.
  • Bored to Death: It's probably easier to count the number of episodes in which the main characters are not smoking pot. Sometimes the character may become an Erudite Stoner while under the influence.
    Jonathan: I still like the way pot makes me think - maybe it's healthy.
    Suzanne: Pot is not healthy.
    Jonathan: They give it to cancer patients.
    Suzanne: You don't have cancer.
    Jonathan: Not yet...

Music
  • Replace all instances of the word "chocolate" with "marijuana" in The 1975's "Chocolate", and it makes incredible sense.
  • Most of Hawkwind's output. Motorhead is about doing speed. Famously, its author and lead singer Lemmy Kilminster was later thrown out of the band for doing too much of it and took the song with him. Hashcake 77 is an instrumental which manages to convey the way it feels when doing dope. You can feel righteously stoned just listening to it.
  • Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit about a young girl who slips down a rabbit hole one day and gets experimental with things labelled "Eat Me", "Drink Me", et c, whilst encountering caterpillars smoking hookahs and self-willed chess pieces and playing cards. Hmmm.
    "FEED YOUR HEAD, FEED YOUR HEAD"

Webcomic
  • Among The Chosen: Hardcore stimulants are used often and explicitly. It is implied that the Addicaine commanders have the option of using heavy duty combat drugs to bring their troops up to battle ready status.

Web Video

Website
  • Erowid, which is intended to be a neutral reference cataloging drugs and their effects, has a lot of Drugs Are Bad ("Addiction," "Difficult Experiences," "Train Wrecks and Trip Disasters") but also has its share of Drugs Are Good ("Glowing Experiences" and "Health" have stories like this).
Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • November 7, 2013
    gallium
    Needs More Examples.

    I watched The Mystery of the Leaping Fish the other day and it occurred to me, while making up a page for that weird-ass film, that we don't have a trope to describe positive portrayals of drug use. Instead, when this happens within a work (and it's not a clear example of one of the related categories like Drunken Master), it's generally listed under Drugs Are Bad and cited as an aversion. It seemed to me like there is a missing trope here.
  • November 8, 2013
    Arivne
    Film
    • Poltergeist. Diane and Steven Freeling are shown smoking a marijuana cigarette together and having a great time.
  • November 8, 2013
    DAN004
    Of course, drugs are good in that they cure diseases. =P
  • November 11, 2013
    gallium
    I did a search for "drugs are bad averted" and cut-and-pasted some appropriate entries here.
  • November 11, 2013
    Paycheckgurl
    In the film Mac and Devin go to High School the CG joint narrator filibusters about how weed is good and should be legalized. In the story proper, weed is also what helps the valedictorian finally relax and enjoy his life.
  • November 11, 2013
    randomsurfer
    The Breakfast Club: Bender brings some grass he had stashed in his school locker and the kids have an eighties montage over smoking it in the school library during detention.
  • November 11, 2013
    TheHandle
    Compare with Higher Understanding Through Drugs, which isn't so much "drugs are good" (it's often depicted as a creepy or forceful effect) as "drugs are useful".

    And they can provide dramatic instances of Breaking The Fourth Wall.

  • November 11, 2013
    gallium
    ^I included the first part of what you wrote, but not sure how to put in the second part—it is my understanding that we aren't supposed to have material hidden by spoiler tags in trope introductions.

    I was wondering today, is it necessary to make this a No Real Life Examples Please trope? I put it there because Drugs Are Bad is so listed. But while I can see why you wouldn't want to list a bunch of OD cases under Drugs Are Bad, could we list people who really liked/enjoyed drugs and didn't suffer for it under Drugs Are Good? I almost listed The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test under Literature, but it's non-fiction so I decided not to.
  • November 11, 2013
    zarpaulus
    Comic Books
    • Being an expy of Hunter S. Thompson, Spider Jerusalem of Transmetropolitan does all his best writing on drugs. Makes his assistants take up smoking at the very least (cancer is curable). Though he does go on the occasional binge where he's too out of it to do anything.
  • November 16, 2013
    FromtheWordsofBR
    Music
  • November 16, 2013
    gallium
    ^ That's a good example, an excellent example actually, but it's a song so it would go on the Ode To Intoxication page instead, I think.

    Actually, that's something I was thinking about. I started this YKTTW because we don't have a trope for positive portrayals of drug use so instead we use Drugs Are Bad: Averted blah blah blah. But we DO have a trope for positive portrayals of drug use in music. Is the answer to launch this YKTTW as a trope, or to re-define and expand Ode To Intoxication to apply to all media?
  • November 23, 2013
    gallium
    Man, I just cannot get any feedback for this.
  • November 24, 2013
    gallium
    Decided there is no basis to make this a No Real Life Examples Please trope—although if others disagree I'd be happy to put that back.
  • November 27, 2013
    gallium
    Feedback, people, good citizens of TV Tropes, give me feedback. Or a hat! But also feedback.
  • November 28, 2013
    AgProv
    Music:
    • Most of Hawkwind's output. Motorhead is about doing speed. Famously, its author and lead singer Lemmy Kilminster was later thrown out of the band for doing too much of it and took the song with him. Hashcake 77 is an instrumental which manages to convey the way it feels when doing dope. You can feel righteously stoned just listening to it.
    • Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit about a young girl who slips down a rabbit hole one day and gets experimental with things labelled "Eat Me", "Drink Me", et c, whilst encountering caterpillars smoking hookahs and self-willed chess pieces and playing cards. Hmmm.

  • November 28, 2013
    Susyspider
    • Bored To Death: It's probably easier to count the number of episodes in which the main characters are not smoking pot. Sometimes the character may become an Erudite Stoner while under the influence.
      Jonathan: I still like the way pot makes me think - maybe it's healthy.
      Suzanne: Pot is not healthy.
      Jonathan: They give it to cancer patients.
      Suzanne: You don't have cancer.
      Jonathan: Not yet...
  • December 10, 2013
    CrypticMirror
    Iain M Bank's The Culture novels have all narcotics and recreational drugs available to the entire population. Since, in that setting, you can sober up instantly if you have to and all medical problems are pretty much instantly curable too, they are just another fun way to pass the day.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=wrvreox5f7vp64ix9xfql7yq&trope=DrugsAreGood