"Drugs are bad, m'kay. You shouldn't do drugs. If you do them, you're bad, because drugs are bad, m'kay. It's a bad thing to do drugs, so don't be bad by doing drugs, m'kay, that'd be bad."
"Don't do drugs" is a stock aesop
that has been sledgehammered into children's television shows at the request of the United States government
. It usually results in anvilicious
moralizing and very special episodes
Although drugs, both legal and illegal, can have devastating effects on the lives of their users, Drugs Are Bad shows and commercials often exaggerate how bad they actually are
, very commonly becoming a Clueless Aesop
with all the Narm
associated with it. Often, even the villains of shows, when presented with an opportunity to sell drugs for profit, will decline on the grounds that Even Evil Has Standards
Alternatively, drugs make people feel wonderful the first time they take them, but every subsequent time the same drug (or a harder one) makes them feel like worse than Hell. But it's too late, because they're already "hooked" after the first time, and according to the gateway drug theory
, if you give a teen a marijuana cigarette, he'll inevitably wind up doing something harder. While this theory has a degree of basis in reality, it's not
the inevitable result of a little mild experimentation.
Note that the full name of the trope should be "Recreational
Drugs Are Bad". If you or the characters take the title at face value
, you've got a case of Mistaken for Junkie
See also The Aggressive Drug Dealer
, that monster from the '90s who finds middle-class suburbanite kids wherever they are and forces
them to take his drugs. Contrast Functional Addict
, where the negative effects of drugs are not portrayed as intensely. For the opposite of this trope, when drugs and drug use are portrayed positively, see Drugs Are Good
Please don't use real life examples. This page is not about whether drugs are actually bad; it is about how said badness is depicted in the media.
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- The famous "This Is Your Brain On Drugs" TV Public Service Announcement.
- Parodied in a Bizarro comic which has four images: Your Brain=An egg, Your Brain on drugs= A fried egg, Your Brain with Bacon= A fried egg with Bacon, Your brains mother= A hen.
- Also parodied by the Freak Brothers; "This is your brain" (an egg), "This is drugs" (a frying pan), "This is your brain on drugs, any questions?" (an actual brain dangled by the spinal cord).
- And of course, the unforgettable "This Is Your Brain On Heroin" version.
- Parodied when MTV showed Sponge Bob Square Pants: "This is your brain. This is your brain on Spongebob!"
- Parodied in The Goldbergs episode "Muscles Mirsky".
- Avoided in commercials running on Canadian television: the message isn't that smoking marijuana is going to ruin your life, but that getting high and then driving, like drinking and driving, is a stupid idea.
- One Ad Council Public Service Announcement has a girl's dog tell her he wishes she would stop smoking marijuana. (Hmmm, if she was high, that might happen...) Left unsaid was that if your dog is talking to you, you have much larger problems than smoking marijuana. The dog talking ad is brilliantly parodied by College Humor here.
- This kind of PSA is parodied in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle when the titular characters are watching television. One teen pressures another teen into smoking marijuana; shortly afterwards, the kid grabs a rifle, aims it directly at his face, and pulls the trigger, thinking that he's invincible. Cue the Space Whale Aesop.
- This was probably a direct parody of an ad that pretty much had that same set-up: two thirteen-year-old boys are smoking marijuana in one boy's father's office, and the father left a gun on the table. One boy asks if it's loaded; the other said no and shot it at his friend, not realising it actually was loaded and apparently killing his friend.
- The British Talk To FRANK service originated as a comparatively neutral source of information about drugs, but gradually started becoming more and more Anvilicious in their advertising.
- The Broken Aesop shown at the top of this page, where the Washington, D.C. based "People's Drug" had notices on their shopping bags not to use the very type of product which is part of their name. Might be one of the reasons they ended up being sold to the CVS drugstore chain.
- In a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles PSA, the turtles' anti-drugs message is undermined by Michelangelo's anti-munchies advice: "Get a pizza!". It also contains a hilariously Lame Comeback to an insult: "I'm not a chicken; you're a turkey!"
- Calling someone a "chicken" is technically a bad insult already.
- A PSA made for the movie Gremlins showed the dangers of alcohol abuse.
- Pee Wee Herman made this anti-crack PSA as a part of his community service after his arrest for pleasuring himself in an X-rated movie theatre.
- The infamous "I tried pot once, now I'm gay" print ad by Christians For Michele Bachmann.
- Recently, "The Real Cost of Smoking" ads focus on some of the most superficial effects smoking has, appealing to younger smokers' vanity.
- There was a PSA on The N back in The Noughties where an old man sings about tobacco to some teenagers.
Anime & Manga
- American Beauty features a subversion of this principle (though this may depend on your opinion of the characters): Drugs are GOOD. The 3 people who don't smoke pot are a battered wife, a cheating wife and a closeted homosexual wife beater. All the characters that are even marginally sympathetic smoke marijuana.
- Then again, the main character that takes pot is trying to seduce a young girl and escape responsibility, along with the drug dealer, being a well-meaning, but off-kilterish and stalkerish guy. On the third hand, the main character does NOT sleep with the (not really) wannabe Lolita at the end.
- The Even Evil Has Standards version is a key theme of The Godfather. At least enough so to keep them from selling them to white people.
- In Goodfellas, Henry Hill is warned by his bosses in The Mafia not to get involved in drugs... not so much because they disapprove of it, but because it'll bring the full weight of the federal government crashing down on top of them, which the bosses do not want. True enough, when Henry gets involved in drugs (both dealing and addicted), the feds bust in on the party and the good times are definitely over.
- In The Godfather Don Vito Corleone initially turns down a narcotics dealer who wants his support. His stated reason is that his friends in politics would withdraw their assistance if he were to get in the drug business, though it's implied he finds the idea distasteful too. His refusal kind of starts a war.
- Die Hard made sure that annoying loser Harry Ellis used cocaine. This was probably done in equal parts to show how pathetically depressed he was, though.
- The Totally Radical and So Bad, It's Good movie High School Confidential offered these words of wisdom: "If you flake around with the weed, you'll end up using the harder stuff." The "evidence" for this argument usually involves taking a sample of crackheads and noting that over 95% of them had used weed in the past; you could say the same about bread or water. Correlation does not imply causation.
- Parodied in Walk Hard: Dewey will frequently walk in on his drummer Sam engaging in some illicit narcotic accompanied by a crowd of beautiful young women. Sam will urgently tell Dewey that "you don't want no part in this!", but will then with the same urgent tone list all the great things about that particular drug. Dewey inevitably ends up hooked on it. For example, when Dewey notices friends smoking reefer:
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.
- Reefer Madness, which says that people who use marijuana may become "hopelessly and incurably insane," is the most famous of several "social menace" movies made in the mid-1930s to sensationally portray marijuana as a menace to society.
- A good example of this occurs during a scene where a bunch of people are sitting around smoking and laughing. This quickly degrades to a man mercilessly beating another person to the floor while everyone else laughs. The implication being that smoking marijuana will make you compelled to violently assault your friends.
- On the plus side, you can play piano really fast.
- Canned Heat's first album contains the tongue-in-cheek Amphetamine Annie, a dread warning against stimulants:
This is a song with a message.
I want you to heed my warning;
I wanna tell you all a story,
About this chick I know;
She's always shovelling snow.
I sat her down and told her,
I told her crystal clear,
"I don't mind you getting high,
But there's one thing you should fear!
Your mind might think its flying, baby
On those little pills;
But you ought to know it's dying, 'cause...
- "Just to Get High" by Nickelback talks about watching someone's downward spiral into drug addiction.
- Played (relatively) straight in the video for "The Last Journey Home" by DragonForce, where Vadim and ZP turn down the offerings of a drug dealer who accosts them in a seedy back alley. Played straight with the song "Give Me the Night", which is told from the perspective of a drug addict.
- Done well in Jamey Johnson's brutally honest hit song "The High Cost of Living". Not quite Crowning Music of Awesome quality, but pretty darn close.
- Contrary to popular belief, the Straight Edge movement usually does not fall prey to this trope. Straight edgers believe drug abuse and alcoholism to be unhealthy, yes, but traditional straight edge ethos is against mass-marketed morality (force-fed anti-drug Stock Aesops would fall under this category) just as much as mindless hedonism. The idea of straight edge isn't to practice temperance for moral or political reasons, but for the sake of self-control and independence, usually amounting to a "be your own god" ideology that very much runs contrary to the conservative or religious intentions of most anti-drug aesops.
- More or less the Accidental Aesop of a large percentage of Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll rockers. For a couple of examples, just compare pictures of Steven Tyler or Taiji Sawada taken when they first began their lives of Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll... to what they look like now, in their middle age.
- And to take that Up to Eleven, what happened to Taiji Sawada. While his cause of death is disputed, his strange behavior near the end and Saipan's reputation for being a methamphetamine capital of the world could explain some of what led to his suspicious death as being a particularly bad fall Off The Wagon.
- Hell, just look at Scott Weiland. He may have been the founding member of one of the biggest rock acts of the Nineties and the singer for an equally-prominent supergroup, but his drug-addled idiocy and complete refusal to take some responsibility for it has resulted in his being fired from virtually every band he's ever been in.
- Afroman's "Because I Got High" sounds like a pretty cheerful and upbeat song about getting high, but as the song goes on, increasingly bad things happen to him, Because he got high.
I messed up my entire life, because I got high,
I lost my kids and wife, because I got high.
Now I'm sleeping on the sidewalk, and I know why,
Because I got high, because I got high, because I got high.
However, this is completely averted with his new remake of "Because I Got High" in which he extolls the benefits of marijuana and is now personally pushing for full legalization.
- In a live performance by Robbie Williams, he stopped the show dead in its tracks to deliver the message that "alcohol is good; drugs are bad".
- Old Crow Medicine Show's "Methamphetamine" (on their third album Tennessee Pusher) plays this straight. However, The song avoids being preachy by showing how meth cooking is often prevalent in economically depressed areas.
'Cause when it's either the mine or the Kentucky National Guard
Mmm, I'd rather sell them a line than be dyin' in the coal yard
- OCMS (as they're known) has a song about drugs once each album; the songs on their first two albums (Old Crow Medicine Show and Big Iron World) are about cocaine, and treat the subject somewhat lightly (with the guy in the song on Old Crow Medicine Show "bemoaning" his habit the way drunks in old country songs do—saying it's a sin and all, but refusing to do anything about it besides asking the others not to join in; the guy on Big Iron World doesn't even bother with that—"take a whiff on me," indeed).
- OCMS also doesn't seem to have a problem with marijuana, if the lyric "Walk into the south outta Roanoke/Caught a trucker outta Philly, had a nice long toke" in "Wagon Wheel" is any indication.
- Parodied in Eminem's "The Kids," which sends up the South Park episode of the page quote.
- Played completely straight about pot in The Offspring's "What Happened to You?" and partially Played for Laughs in "Mota."
- 101 Rules Of Power Metal #58. Drugs aren't metal.
- A major theme of Savatage's Streets: A Rock Opera. The main character, DT Jesus, is a drug dealer turned rock star turned junkie. The Rock Opera begins with him wandering the streets in a drug-induced haze before a similarly-fallen mentor makes him realize he needs to clean up his act. Disaster strikes during his come-back show and a friend is killed because of him. The rest of the story is DT trying to make sense of his life and the world, with the numbing "comfort" of drugs being a constant temptation.
- The entire point of Metallica's Master Of Puppets is that drugs turn you into a slave and both rule and ruin your life. The majority of the song is from the P.O.V. of the drug itself as it taunts and mocks you, making it very clear who's in charge.
Taste me you will see
More is all you need
How I'm killing you
Come crawling faster
Obey your master
Your life burns faster
Obey your master, master
Master of puppets I'm pulling your strings
Twisting your mind and smashing your dreams
Blinded by me you can't see a thing
Just call my name cuz I'll hear you scream, Master, Master
- One section is from the addict's P.O.V. as they cry out to a master that "promised only lies".
- Another heavy metal example is ironically enough from Ozzy Osbourne. The song "Suicide Solution" is about alcohol abuse and how it will slowly and painfully end up killing you. The song was written after AC/DC's original singer Bon Scott who died at 33 from alcohol poisoning.
Suicide is slow with liquor
Take a bottle and drown your sorrows
Then it floods away tomorrows
- Played for Laughs in Stephen Lynch's mock-children's song "Superhero," which involves an audience participation portion:
Stephen: Kids, sometimes criminals want you to be a criminal too, don't they? They offer you things like drugs and alcohol. But we know to just say no, right?
Stephen: You drunk motherfuckers. Except for the ol' stoned table. I know who you guys are. I can smell it from here.
- "Slow Down" by Brand Nubian is a What the Hell, Hero? directed at the speaker's ex-girlfriend, who is addicted to crack cocaine and has been selling her body (and his new sneakers) to pay for her habit, and he mentions how the drugs have taken a toll on her looks as well as her personality.
- Billy Joel's "Captain Jack" is about a Real Life heroin dealer in a Long Island housing project and a young man whose life is falling apart and turns to drugs as a result. The chorus at the beginning includes the line "Captain Jack will get you high tonight". By the end, it is "Captain Jack will make you die tonight".
- No one is going to say Neil Young's "The Needle And The Damage Done" is subtle in telling letting you know what Neil feels about heroin. Neil wrote this in response to Crazy Horse's Danny Whitten being fired from the band for his constant heroin abuse, and the next day, Whitten was found dead after ODing on alcohol and valium.
- Lynyrd Skynyrd's "The Needle and the Spoon" is about how using heroin will kill you.
- Queensr che's concept album Operation Mindcrime's main character is a heroin addict and the protagonist Dr. X uses his addiction to control him. He directly confronts how the drug has completely fucked him up on The Needle.
- The David Bowie-led Hard Rock group Tin Machine had a song on this subject with "Crack City" in 1989.
- Hoyt Axton's "No No Song" (remade by Ringo Starr) has this refrain (in reference to the "marijuana" part):
No-no-no-no, I don't smoke it no more
I'm tired of waking up on the floor
No, thank you, please, it only makes me sneeze
Then it makes it hard to find the door
- The whole of Lou Reed's Berlin album is an account of a couple falling apart due to dependency on legal and illegal drugs, culminating in the woman's suicide. This laugh-fest has gems like Caroline Said
All of her friends call her Alaska
When she takes speed, they'll laugh and ask her
What is in her mind?
But she's not afraid to die;
All of her friends call her Alaska;
It's so cold in Alaska...
- Lou Reed's best-known and loved song, Perfect Day from ''Transformer, has been misinterpreted by people taking it at face value as a song about a loving couple enjoying a perfect summer day. It is about a love affair: between a man and heroin.
It's such a perfect day;
You made me forget myself;
I thought I was someone else, someone good....
- The Blue Oyster Cult do a lot of drugs songs. Then Came the Last Days of May is about another peril associated with drugs: three Naive American kids on a trip into Mexico to buy drugs are double-crossed and murdered for their money. (Message: drugs are bad because their very illegality means you do not know who you are dealing with). Hungry Boys is about heroin dependency
Now look at Hungry, he's really got the need;
Valerie's got the needle and she always makes him plead;
Louis was the one who really brought the stuff to town;
But the cops moved in and shut the operation down! That's why we're hungry boys!
- Patti Smith, a long time associate of the BOC, recorded Poppies on her Radio Ethiopia album. The poppies in question are the opium variety. Among other things, buried away in a double-tracked lyric she sings graphically about the laxative and emetic side- effect of heroin. If this were better known to non-users, what a deterrent it would be.. ''"Kids! Heroin makes you shit yourself! Now do you think it's cool to do drugs?"
- The Kinks' Harry Rag is a light-hearted singalong number about addiction to a more mundane and legal drug: nicotine.
Tom's old ma is a dying lass,
Soon they all reckon she'll be pushing up the grass,
But her bones might ache, and her skin might sag -
She's so content because she's got a Harry Rag!
Oh, Harry Rag, Harry Rag,
She'll do anything just to get a Harry Rag!
She curses herself for the life she's led;
Then rolls herself a Harry Rag and puts herself to bed...
- Alice in Chains's second album, Dirt is a genuinely chilling example of this trope, with many of the lyrics being written by singer Layne Staley about his own heroin addiction.
- Their first album also contains the song White Line To Nowhere and the third self titled album has Sludge Factory among many others.
- Xorcist's "Crack" opens with a sample of a crack user flatlining and having a near-death experience, followed by the repeated lyric "Don't let it take your soul".
- Kiss' "I" from Music from "The Elder": "Don't need to get wasted, it only holds me down." Also a Take That to their lead guitarist Ace Frehley.
- "The Pusher" by Steppenwolf, once banned by Moral Guardians for being too pro-drug, is actually one of the most anti-drug songs ever recorded, right up there with...
- "Hand of Doom" by Black Sabbath, an anti-heroin song.
- Run-D.M.C.: Roots, Rap, Reggae from King Of Rock.
Don't drink alcohol, don't snort cocaine
Reggae music is not so strange
Know the cocaine will hurt up your brain
- Down's second album II: A Bustle In Your Hedgerow has many about lead singer's battle with heroin and opiate addiction, including Learn From This Mistake and Ghosts Along The Mississippi.
- Similarly, Phil's more famous band, Pantera has several, especially on The Great Southern Trendkill, written in the midst of Phil's growing problem. Suicide Note Pt. 1 and Live Through Me (Hell's Wrath) are chilling examples.
- Rancid has a few from their earlier albums, as several members had had bad experiences with heroin and also witnessed the drug kill many of their friends. Rats in the Hallway and Brad Logan being prime examples. The song The Bottle also recounts Tim Armstrong's battle with alcoholism.
- Life Of Agony frontman Keith/Mina Caputo witnessed his father destroy his life and eventually die from heroin use. Let's Pretend and Heroin Dreams reflect this.
- Frank Zappa's Cocaine Decisions, an attack on coke sniffing yuppies.
- The Death From Above 1979 song Dead Womb is a song against cocaine, specifically pregnant women abusing the drug.
So many girls I know poison their wombs for sure
I'm sick of all these girls poisoning their...
We're looking for wives, so tired of sluts coming to us in the clubs with their cocaine
We're looking for wives, so tired of sluts coming to us in the clubs with their cocaine
I know you think you have it all but you will never even
- "Hero´ne" from Virus'' by Doe Maar is an anti-heroin song, directly inspired by their drummer who was addicted to the stuff. It took him more than 30 years to kick off the habit. As recently as 2014 he released his autobiography detailing his addictions and even mentioning he didn't even get the song was about him at the time.
- The About.com entry on marijuana says that the effects of it are "Distorted perception, problems with memory and learning, loss of coordination, trouble with thinking and problem-solving, increased heart rate and reduced blood pressure". Anyone reading that may wonder why people smoke marijuana in the first place. It's accurate, from a medical standpoint, but also something of a lie of omission.
- CM Punk's whole Heel gimmick is pretty much telling everybody Drugs Are Bad over and over and over again, and wagging an accusatory finger towards the audience. Of course, in his mind, anything stronger than caffeine is worthy of scorn.
- The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles And Other Strangeness supplement Turtles Go Hollywood (1990) has an impassioned plea on the copyright page telling kids not to do drugs that fits its end-of-the-80s time period perfectly.
- Magic: The Gathering's original backstory involved a shade of this trope. The Thran's civilization declined due to an addiction to Powerstones, their energy source. The addiction later became a disease, which the doctor Yawgmoth treated by replacing infected parts with mechanical ones. Eventually, they became the Phyrexians, primary antagonists for the entire first half of the game's run, and then recurring villains later.
- Pretty much anything that appears in the Dungeons & Dragons supplement The Book of Vile Darkness (which includes rules for torture, execution, and rules where that made "Sadistic" a trait that a character can benefit from) are depicted as things that are evil even by the usual standards of the game, and not recommended for Player Characters. Rules for and examples of magical addictive drugs (along with rules for how addiction to them is handled) is included in this book.
- The "Winners Don't Use Drugs" screen that used to appear in the Attract Mode of many arcade games (and in some places still does. There's also messages from the EPA).
- Just Say No International commissioned NARC, a game in which the player is tasked with the somewhat morally questionable task of mowing down thousands of people (including mere addicts) purely to try getting drugs off the street. Presumably the message to take home from this is that Drugs Are Bad because they will lead to the cops walking up to you and blowing your head off with a rocket launcher.
- Quest for Glory III has a Non-Standard Game Over for hitting the pipe too many times, entitled "All Toked Up".
"You spend the next couple of years sleeping in alleyways and eating out of garbage cans. Then you die, a burned-out drug addict."
- Many Powder Game uploads are named something like "dont smoke". These always feature a man made of explosives smoking a flaming or exploding cigarette.
- In S.W.A.T. 2, there's an entire campaign for the Terrorist side. While you're free to murder and take hostages throughout the campaign, one of the early missions opens with your boss chastising some of the terrorist members for growing marijuana for profit, and he orders you to set fire to the crop. Even Evil Has Standards.
- Not really, its heavily implied that the terrorists just don't want to attract attention too early, and the burning of the marijuana is to hide the evidence.
- In The Witcher, characters show more contempt at Salamandra's attempts to control the drug trade than their ranks including rapists and murderers. This is worse when it's a morally vague World Half Empty, so any kind of message (intended or not) doesn't fit.
- Of course, it makes sense as controlling the industry would then give the organization control over the addicts, which they could use to further their own agenda.
- Averted in StarCraft where feeding your marines stimpacks doubles their effectiveness but damages them by about 1/4 of their health, but is necessary to utilize them effectively. Kind of played straight with the disclaimer though:
Side effects including insomnia, weight loss, tremors, grand mal seizures, mania/hypomania, paranoiac hallucinations, severe internal hemorrhaging and cerebral deterioration have all been declared nominal and well within Confederate acceptable safety margins.
- If you have the expansion, you can heal the damage from stimpacks with medics. And keep giving your marines stims. The result is, figuratively and literally, space marines on crack.
- Skooma, a drinkable drug from The Elder Scrolls series, is shown as highly addictive as well as causing brain damage. In game terms, this translates to two points of intelligence damage per bottle, meaning 25 doses could leave you a vegetable. A 10 coin offering at the local shrine makes you as good as new.
- But when have player characters and NPC's even been on equal footing?
- In Skyrim, it has no negative effects on the player character whatsoever. This is despite meeting a pathetic addict of it in one of the Khajiit caravans.
- This is also subverted with moon-sugar, the main ingredient in Skooma, it has no permanent downsides and is used by Khajiit in ritualistic worshipping, but because it's an ingredient in Skooma, it's illegal all the same.
- Haze features 'nectar' as a combat enhancing drug that has the unfortunate side effect of being more likely to kill you than the enemy.
- In Sim City 4, you can view a map of your city's crime hotspots, with a series of colour-coded symbols to denote each crime. Drug offences are ranked alongside arson and bank robbery.
- In the Grange Hill computer game, accepting drugs from the pusher results in a really dark game over.
"There is an empty look in his eye as he snatches the money from your hand. His face is pale and drawn; His body thin and unfed. He steals to keep his habit; And makes addicts of children. He is dead, and soon you will be too."
- This was actually the core aesop of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, funnily enough. The gangbanger protagonists hate drugs with a passion, mostly because a drug dealer killed their mother, and drugs turned many allies into enemies and rendered the rest apathetic. Fortunately, it never comes off as Anvilicious.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: The drug power-ups that induce Bullet Time and make your punches do Quad Damage, and were found in abundance in GTA III and Vice City are renamed "adrenaline pills" here and there are maybe four or five scattered across the entire map, just to reinforce the aesop.
- It's a consistent theme across the HD universe as well. In Grand Theft Auto IV you run across several random characters who are dealing with a drug addiction, and you help them get their lives straight. Little Jacob says that marijuana use has made his partner Real Badman paranoid, and even says in one conversation that he's trying to quit himself. The motivation of the man who sold out Niko's squad is revealed to have been for money for his heroin habit, and once we finally meet him he's a broken wretch. In Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned, Johnny's ex-girlfriend Ashley is a slave to her drug habit, and Johnny is forced to bail her out of trouble several times, even though he fully expects her to never change. In Grand Theft Auto V, meth addiction has turned Johnny Klebitz into a shell of his former self. Smoking marijuana is presented as just one of the reasons Michael's son is a loser, and he vows to quit it late in the game. The player has the option of having Michael or Franklin take a hit from a bong, and both of them usually become depressed when they do so. A legalization activist is portrayed as caring more about his stash than about helping people, to the point that he and his friends get so high that they completely forget about a rally they roped Franklin into.
- The first two Fallout games did this without dropping the anvils, or ever infringing on the player's choice in whether to use or peddle them. Gameplay benefits and side effects for recreational drugs were roughly equal to medical and performance-enhancing drugs, and the player is provided ways of mitigating the penalties, or even turning them into another benefit.) Dumping them wholesale on the market for profit had no negative consequence, not even an in-game rebuke or lampshade. The personal and social consequences were depicted with a light touch, without specifically reviling the user; any villanization related to institutional use for the purpose of oppressing a population, or deliberately poisoning the product.
- Fallout 2 even allowed the player to join the ranks of the Mordinos, the New Reno crime family responsible for the jet epidemic sweeping the wasteland. Alternatively, the player could choose to find a cure for jet addiction. Either way, it was still a drug essentially made from cow (brahmin) crap and it got the user high as balls...which is VERY, VERY bad of course. Not to mention the CNPC with a heart condition that makes him explode if you feed him too much drugs.
- Fallout 3 used drugs similarly to the previous games; they all had side effects (including alcoholic drinks) and your character had a chance of becoming addicted (causing penalties if you didn't take the drug; although you could be cured by pretty much any doctor). There was also a side quest in Megaton where you could help an addict go clean (for which he would reward you with his stash). There were also a few perks that allowed you to ignore or reduce the side effects or chance of being addicted.
- Originally, Med-X (drug that increases damage resistance) was going to be named Morphine but Australia took issue with it so the developers hastily renamed it. There are rumors the game was to include animations where the user actually takes the drug but these were dummied out for the same reason: visual depictions of someone doing drugs are BAAAD.
- Fallout: New Vegas plays with it a bit more. The most eviliest group, The Fiends are like this because most are so drugged up (the rest are just plan crazy, and on drugs) however the second most evil, The Legion, is very anti-drug (including for medicinal purposes).
- The LucasArts adventure game The Dig reduced into a thoroughly Anvilicious drug abuse allegory for the mid-part of the game with the life crystals and Ludger Brink's relationship with them.
- The flash game Get Home. But Thou Must take drugs and get the Bad Ending before getting home clean is an option.
- The premise of the NES game Wally Bear And The No Gang is based entirely around this.
- Also, Color Dreams' Raid 2020.
- Everything that happens to the main character in Afraid Of Monsters is caused by the drugs that he is addicted to.
- In Payday The Heist, the robbers go to a drug deal to waste the dealers and take only the drug money while destroying the drugs. One of the heist members Dallas performs hits on drug dealers and kingpins as he personally fights against the drug trade.
- In Nitro+CHIRAL's "Togainu no Chi", nothing good can come from using Line. Though it increases your physical abilites, it results in loss of rational thought, and excruciating withdrawal. Worst case scenario, you either disembowel your childhood friend (Keisuke does so to Akira), or end up a vegetable (in Shiki's case). Even Akira and Keisuke's best end results in hints of PTSD and a huge case of mygodwhathaveidone?
- In Stuntman Ignition, at the end of the Overdrive movie trailer, the movie protagonist says "Winners don't do drugs" just after he throws his car on the bad guy's helicopter.
- In City of Heroes quite a few of the criminal organisations are doing various drugs which mutate their bodies and give them super-powers. The Family (a Mafia-esque criminal group) is involved in selling it. On the streets you can hear Mooks haggling over the price and quality of drugs constantly. And a lot of missions are akin to drug busts. In Going Rogue there exists a drink called 'Enriche' which is advertised everywhere and spoken highly of by the general population. You don't need much imagination to guess that it's actually a drug siphoned directly into the population's water supply to keep them happy and obedient.
- The shareware episode of Crystal Caves has a sign reading "Winners Don't Do Drugs" on the overworld map.
- Parodied with a Space Whale Aesop in one of Zaeed Massani's anecdotes in Mass Effect 2.
"You smoke, Shepard
? Don't. That stuff'll kill you. Knew a kid once, half your age. Smoked too close to a cache of explosives. Tossed a butt, blew himself sky-high."
- Referenced and mocked with Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, where the phrase is name-checked as part of the game's general Retreaux 1980's vibe. Rex even implies that if he tries drugs just oncenote , he will somehow disgrace America.
- Parodied in Red vs. Blue when Simmons tells the other members of Red team that he and Grif were drugged. Donut immediately assumes that they were intentionally abusing drugs and proceeds on a long tirade about how drugs are bad, much to Simmons' annoyance. Simmons even comes right out and says that the only thing Donut is accomplishing by going on the anti-drug tirade is making him want to take drugs out of spite.
- Spoofed in the Saturday Morning Watchmen themesong. "Say no to drugs!" is sung while Rorschach is shown turning away from a dealer.
- Spoofed (or played straight? hard to tell) in this Flash Tub "PSA" from Something Awful.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series has a PSA where Yami Yugi speaks out against drugs. It starts out rather straight (he'd lose respect and his ability to play a Children's Card Game well) but then gets weirder as he advocates selling cards as a better way to get kids addicted (without getting arrested).
- In Worm, Weaver deconstructs this trope when talking to middle-schoolers, explaining that drugs don't instantly ruin people's lives like they say, and that Lies to Children claiming they do just discredit people talking about the progressive harm they do. She then segues from this into an explanation of why being a supervillain sucks in much the same way.
- Nash Bozard looks at this from a practicality standpoint. While it may not be a good idea, it's not hard to understand why people do drugs; they want to experience the effect the drug has on them, be it chilling out, euphoria, etc. Once you get to something like bath salts, this justification rapidly evaporates in a cloud of naked crazy and there's no good reason for doing it; you don't feel good by any definition, and you'll probably go on a rampage trying to get away from the people around you who have turned into demons or the lightning chasing you down the highway.]]
- A lot of health websites seem to want to remind you that if you want to avoid getting nearly any illness on the planet, you must avoid doing drugs, especially smoking, as if they are pounding it into your brain.