I take Quaaludes 10 to 15 times a day for my "back pain," Adderall to stay focused, Xanax to take the edge off, pot to mellow me out, cocaine to wake me back up again, and morphine, well, because it's awesome.
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. This trope may get paired with Drugs Are Bad
in a work that shows the "good" side of drugs but then pivots to Drugs Are Bad
to show the consequences.
- 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 holding 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.
- 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.
- Charlie Chaplin liked this trope.
- In The Cure, Charlie's an alcoholic trying to dry out at a health spa. His stash of liquor is discovered and thrown out—into the well that guests at the spa drink mineral water from. A really fun-looking party ensues.
- In Easy Street, Charlie sits on a cocaine syringe. The jolt of energy he gets helps him to rescue the Love Interest and beat up a gang of thugs.
- Similarly, in Modern Times, Charlie winds up accidentally ingesting some cocaine that another prisoner hid in a salt shaker. It helps him foil a jailbreak.
- 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.
Kumar: But weed is so good. It gets you high!
- 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.
- The 1971 Documentary film Aphrodisiac: The Sexual Secret of Marijuana is a dramatization of the benefits of smoking marijuana. It chronicles how smoking pot improved the sex lives of many couples and the film also presents the medicinal benefits of marijuana.
- Contrary to popular belief, Dazed and Confused does NOT have this message. While we see several characters smoking pot throughout the film, only one (Slater) is a full-blown stoner. And the negative effect frequent pot smoking has had on his mental health is very obvious.
- 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.
- Workaholics: The show is full of drug use, and while the guys mostly just drink and smoke weed, they also take shrooms, and drop acid. They shy away from harder drugs (Adam says they're not his cup of tea), and Blake denounces huffing nitrous as 'hippy crack'. While the guys themselves are presented as losers, it doesn't have that much to do with their substance problems.
- 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 PSAs ("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."
- 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...
- The cops of Brooklyn Nine-Nine bust a drug dealer named Joe. Joe admits that he's guilty, but takes exception to being called a drug pusher.
Joe: Dude, drugs donít need pushing. They push themselves. People love drugs.
- 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", etc, whilst encountering caterpillars smoking hookahs and self-willed chess pieces and playing cards. Hmmm.
"FEED YOUR HEAD, FEED YOUR HEAD"
- Very common in Reggae, since the genre is practically inseparable from the Rastafari religion, which encourages the use of marijuana to aid meditation.
- Peter Tosh was particularly blatant about it. His first solo album, titled Legalize It, had a cover photo of Tosh sitting in a field full of weed, smoking a pipe. The title track is a long list of reasons why ganja is awesome, set to music.
- The Shamen's Ebeneezer Goode. The chorus goes "'Eezer Goode! 'Eezer Goode! He's Ebeneezer Goode!" Now think of it phonetically. Es are good! Es are good!
- Brandy Clark's "Get High" tells of how smoking pot helps a woman get by.
- "Drugs Are Good" by NOFX is a partial subversion, because though it repeatedly claims "Drugs Are Good" the reasons its give seem, in many places, to actually be reasons why Drugs Are Bad. Notable, because NOFX is generally very pro-drugs (but also very pro-Self-Deprecating Humor).
Drugs are good
They make you do things that you know you not should
And when you do 'em people think that you're cool
And when you do 'em people think that you're cool
- Stewie & Brian Griffin's "A Bag Of Weed".
- In "Downtown" by Lady Antebellum, the main protagonist and her significant other smoke pot as a part of their quality time:
"We used to smoke while we were jaywalking
like it was your birthday every other Saturday night"
- "Weed Instead Roses" by Ashley Monroe raves about marijuana being great as a sex drug.
- Black Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf" is a pro-marijuana song, and opens with a loop of Tommy Iommi coughing immediately after taking a hit.
- Smoke A Little Smoke" by Eric Church.
- Marijuana" by Country Joe and the Fish.
- A good number of songs by sludge metal supergroup Down are about the joys of pot smoking. A possible subversion, since quite a few of them amount to "I'm a loser, so I'll smoke pot to bring just a little bit of joy into my life."
- Despite being a former drug user for much of his career, Bill Hicks was a big believer in this. He stated in his act that he believed marijuana use should be not just legal but mandatory, and he also advocated liberal use of psychedelics.
- George Carlin credited mescaline, marijuana, and LSD for their positive effects on his life. Averted with opiates and cocaine, though, which he condemned for the damage they did to his health and wallet.
- 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.
- Persona 2 Win: The main character constantly takes unidentified pills when he is angered (which is a lot) too keep himself from killing the idiots around him.
- 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).
- Family Guy: In the "420" episode, Brian starts a campaign to legalize marijuana and Mayor Adam West signs a bill that makes it legal in Quahog and everyone starts smoking pot. The town's overall quality of life improves as a result.