Blair: You sure Layla's asleep?
: Don't worry. I [used] warm milk with extra
honey. She'll be out for hours
When writers want to do a Very Special Episode
but don't invent a one-shot abuser friend
, they generally feel skittish about having their character suddenly use so-called 'hard' drugs. Coupled with this is the infamous rigidity of broadcast standards and practices
, who sometimes frown on the depiction of drugs even if it is completely negative
. Thus, any drugs commonly portrayed are just unnamed drugs in a ominous-looking context, such as red-and-white caplets or vaguely white powder. Occasionally over-the-counter but still-unnamed drugs are used, which carries a bit more realism.
A riskier prospect is to depict a named drug, but with ridiculously overblown
effects considering the known real-world impact of the drug and the shortness of the storyline
. This was commonly done with marijuana
despite the public perception of its effects as "bland," and thus a major reason such depictions are avoided in case they are not taken seriously. In any case, the strength of any drug never seems to result in symptoms of withdrawal in further episodes
In comedies, a complete non-drug
may be treated as if it were, like sugar addicts or milk-alcoholics: that's I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin
. In Speculative Fiction
, the drug may be entirely fictional, making it a Fantastic Drug
(which, if it gives superpowers, would be Psycho Serum
See also: No Smoking
, Frothy Mugs of Water
, Toad Licking
, Drunk on Milk
, Klatchian Coffee
, High On Catnip
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Anime and Manga
- The Level Upper in Toaru Kagaku No Railgun is a sound file that amplifies the powers of any esper that listens to it. However, it comes with the side-effect of causing its users to collapse into a coma. It's distributed illegally throughout Academy City by shady people and it's generally treated as if it were a deadly drug.
- In the Welcome to the NHK light novel and manga, nearly the first thing we see the protagonist do is snort a small amount of a 'legal drug' he 'brought off the internet'. In the anime, the drug was removed, and the resulting trip was changed from a drug-induced hallucination into a psychotic hallucination.
- In episode 4 of Season 2's Baka To Test To Shoukanjuu, Himeji gets drunk off some chocolates she ate. And due to her Yandere and Clingy Jealous Girl tendencies, she and Shouko force their Love Interest and resident ButtMonkeys Akihisa as well as Yuuji to play a strip card game with them. And both girls win pretty handily.
- Chitose in Yuru-Yuri gets drunk off chocolates as well, and has a tendency to kiss anyone in the vicinity when she does it.
- Repo! The Genetic Opera averted this hard with Zydrate. The promo stuff made it seem G-rated, but then it's first appearance in the actual movie was when Grave-Robber extracted it from a corpse, and it has some pretty nightmarish effects. Towards the finale, Amber Sweet, the daughter of the owner of Gene Co, Rotti Largo, has her face fall off because of a shoddy, last-minute surgery to fix her accidentally-scarred face right before the opera. The really nightmarish thing is that she isn't screaming because she's so high off Zydrate.
- The nightmarish effects are because, when you're extracting it from a corpse, it's bound to be a little less than 99 44/100% pure. The official Gene Co version just seems to be a very effective (and incidentally addictive) painkiller.
- While 9 is rated PG-13 for its Family Unfriendly Violence and terror, 8's addiction to magnetism still fulfills this trope.
- El Indio in For A Few Dollars More smokes what is presumably marijuana, but it's never mentioned exactly what it is. There's a few points where we see him so stoned he falls asleep with his eyes open or ends up giggling uncontrollably, but other than that the film deliberately makes it unclear whether Indio's psychotic behavior is caused by the drugs, or whether he's actually medicating a mental illness with them and without them he'd be even worse. (The fact that he twitchily requests joints from his underlings after killing people for trivial reasons supports this interpretation). Presumably, the intention was to placate Moral Guardians in America, without ending up in the Reefer Madness hysteria school by claiming weed will turn you into a bipolar rapist.
- The drug-fueled, hallucination-laden madness that is Naked Lunch (the film, at least) revolves around Lee's addiction to... extermination powder? Granted, it was meant as an indirect adaptation of the original novel, in which heroin was the culprit.
- In the less than mediocre Chuck E. Cheese in the Galaxy 5000, there's "Zoom Gas." The antagonists flood their cockpit with it then start acting all giddy and driving at absurd speeds. Hmmm....
- In The Smurfs, Grouchy has a scene in which he overindulges in M&M's and has a "candid" conversation with a green M&M plushie.
- Radagast in The Hobbit feels the effects of Gandalf's pipe-weed, and Saruman later comments disapprovingly on his consumption of mushrooms.
- According to actor Topher Grace, his portrayal of Venom in Spider-Man 3 was deliberately meant to evoke the image of a drug addict, with the symbiote substituting for any actual substance abuse.
- Dinosaurs had an episode about thornoids, which were sentient drugs meant to increase strength and muscles size, but had a side-effect of growing thorns.
- How I Met Your Mother plays this for laughs, having the father refer to marijuana as "sandwiches", and the live action has the characters puffing on them as though they were blunts. In one episode they baked a bag of "sandwiches" into brownies.
- Saved By The Bell had Jessie, caffeine pills, and one of the most memorable scenes in the history of television.
- Small Wonder had an episode called "Vicki and the Pusher." Instead of consuming the drug she obtained in the schoolyard, Vicki hid it in a flowerpot.
- Welcome Back, Kotter: The episode "What Goes Up ..." featured Freddie (one of the show's four main students) becoming addicted to painkillers after being prescribed them to heal a basketball injury. He convinces a scared Horshack that the pills are really just "vitamins" (but is unsuccessful with his teacher or other friends), only seeing the light when Horshack tries to contact the pusher who sold Freddie the pills.
- In Family Ties, Alex Keaton becomes addicted to unspecified "diet pills" (in the days when this would likely be an amphetamine or NDRI) which operate as a stimulant, in an attempt to handle the stress of scholastic life. He eventually crashes, missing the big exam that has been the build-up of the entire sequence.
- In the show California Dreams they had a very special episode in which one of the girls is convinced to take steroids to qualify for an Olympic volleyball team. She's eventually found out, and has an intervention (complete with breakdown in the middle of the local teen hangout) after which it is never referred to again.
- Fraggle Rock had "Wembley's wonderful whoopie water" although the episode that featured it was NOT about drugs.
- ALF once got addicted to cotton, where the effects seem like a combination of being both high and drunk.
- The Young Ones: "Vyv - can you actually, like, kill yourself with laxative pills?"
- Stephen Colbert's painkiller addiction on The Colbert Report, which lasted for the duration of the actor's wrist injury. The broken wrist was real; the painkillers were SweetTarts.
- Averted (as you might expect) in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, where Dennis and Dee intentionally get addicted to crack.
- NCIS: Abby and her Caf-Pow! It's definitely treated like a coffee addiction, there's episodes of her trying to quit and episodes that mention that she drinks a lot of Caf-Pow.
(Gibbs walks into her lab with his hands behind his back)
Abby: What are you hiding?
(Gibbs reveals a Caf-Pow)
Abby: Oh no! It's too late, I can't.
(Gibbs reveals a No Caf-Pow)
Abby: Gibbs, you are an enabler. And I love you for it. (takes both of them)
- The Doctor Who serial Nightmare of Eden has the drug Vraoxin, an organic substance whose origin are unknown but whose properties are ultimately lethal.
- The Gaia Memories in Kamen Rider Double give their users superpowers, but improper use results in addiction, insanity, and withdrawal symptoms. It doesn't help that people who use them are called Dopants. Don't even think about mainlining one; it will mess up your body. And may your deity of choice help you if you get an adulterated Gaia Memory from a shadier-than-usual dealer...
- And most Dopants only use one Memory for a VERY good reason, the only one shown to have used more than one (in fact a large number) got a VERY disturbing death.
- Zodiarts Switches in Kamen Rider Fourze have a very similar effect to the aforementioned Gaia Memories, with the major difference being that Zodiarts Switches are Magical Space Drugs instead of Magical Earth Drugs.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation had an episode called "The Game" that did it with a video game that directly affected neurotransmitters in all kinds of ways and was described constantly as addictive.
- TNG also had the first season episode "Symbiosis", which featured a planet of people addicted to the narcotic "felicium" because it was a virus cure (and therefore invoking this trope) and another planet that did nothing but supply the drug even after the disease it was supposed to treat had long been eradicated, since the residents were so addicted to it.
- The original series has made several references to Vulcans reacting to chocolate like alcohol.
- The TV series Dollhouse features a mysterious "memory drug" in SE 01 E 07 ("Echoes") that supposedly triggers suppressed memories. Effectively, the characters in contact with it act like they are on a strong psychotic substances like mescaline.
- Sliders has an episode where the main characters slide into a Prohibition-like world, where caffeine has taken the place of alcohol. Along with the clothing and music styles of the 20s, they also got speakeasies, where coffee is sold in tiny bags for $5 each, gangsters, and corrupt cops.
- Another episode had the opposite. A world where there are no illegal drugs, and being an addict is mandatory. Cops walk around with tranq guns to calm down those who have gone off meds, until they can get an implant that allows easy injections directly into the bloodstream.
- In an episode of Mythbusters, Tory Grant and Kari tested a myth about smugglers smuggling contraband across borders by driving with no lights on to evade detection. The (theoretical) contraband being smuggled in this scenario? Canadian maple syrup.
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Sabrina gets addicted to pancakes, which isn't THE family secret, but a family secret.
- Parodied (in their usual absurd fashion) by Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! with an advertisement for the fictional children's product, the Cinco i-Jammer and e-Bumper. The device is a digital jukebox with "two revolutionary dance tones", which clearly seem to have some form of highly questionable effect. Then, you factor in the fact that it makes you so wonky that you have to eat food paste ("Oh Hungee")
- For some reason, in the original Hawaii Five-O episode "Up Tight", every reference to LSD was removed and the word "speed" substituted. The women's behavior when they were using it, and the charismatic Leary-like guru who dispensed it, all indicated LSD, not speed.
- An early First Wave episode reveals that ordinary table salt has a cocaine-like effect on the Gua (either that or it's an unintended side-effect of their Half-Human Hybrid husks). Later, Gua salt dens are found. It's shown that any Gua caught ingesting salt is executed.
- In a combination of this and (heh) Crack is Cheaper, 3rd Rock from the Sun had Dick becoming obssessed with Fuzzy Buddies and wasting much of the Solomons' finances on them.
- Children's radio show Jungle Jam and Friends had an episode in which characters discover that they get a pleasant buzz from being knocked on the head by a falling coconut, a practice they refer to as "clunking." What follows is a perfect metaphor for the controversy surrounding the consumption of cigarettes, complete with political rallies, discussions about the dangers of "second-hand clunking," and the eventual revelation of a fatal outcome for the clunker: terminal hiccups.
- Heavy Rain has Norman Jayden, an FBI agent with a Boston accent that comes in and out from line to line and a powerful addiction to blue luminescent powders, even more over the top in the end because it's hard to know what's coming from the drugs/withdrawal, his magic sunglasses from the future or the way he himself seems a bit unhinged to begin with.
- The addiction is treated as something akin to an addiction to painkillers, since he takes the medication to stave off the side effects of using his future police glasses (which include blinding headaches, nausea, and occasional loss of basic motor functions). Throughout the whole game he walks a fine line between using the glasses too much and taking too much medication to compensate. There is actually at least one instance where the player can make the choice to press on with the case (and risk further damage to Nahman's system) or to quit and save him the trouble (at which point the player switches to another one of the playable characters).
- The Sims 3: Late Night has the bubble bar.
- Yoshi's Island: Touch Fuzzy, Get Dizzy and the entire screen will turn Technicolor, swirl and walking straight will become a challenge.
- In Sly Cooper 2, Rajan is a seller of illegal "spices" and acts very much like a drug mogul.
- Monster Party used 'pills' that turned Mark into a flying gargoyle that would shoot lasers, essential making him a much more powerful character. The effect would be temporary and would often leave the player scrambling for another pill.
- The Warriors (the video game) has a healing drug called "Flash" that is sniffed.
- The later installments of Mega Man Battle Network have a variant in the form of Dark Chips. The chips are extremely powerful when used in battle, but harms the NetNavi to use them; said NetNavi becomes addicted to them with repeated use, until they are too far gone for their operator and they eventually get deleted.
- All of the Fallout games use made-up drugs with drastic effects far beyond those of real-world drugs (for example, drinking a beer will make the character objectively stronger for a short time, letting him/her carry more and use heavier equipment). Fallout 3 was set to contain real-world morphine, but Australian Moral Guardians led to the game being banned until "morphine" was replaced with the generic "Med-X." Fallout New Vegas even introduces "Fixer," an anti-drug that will kick your addictions in exchange for some Interface Screw.
- Caffeine. Just look at all the new products that have come into play over the last ten years. Yeah sure, we've always had coffee and tea, and Red Bull isn't exactly new, but whose bright idea was it to cram all the crap of an energy drink into a 2 oz. package?
- Older than you think: Energy shots are derived from japanese "tonics", which were small amounts of extremely potent liquid that would do different things. When Energy Drinks became popular, it was a no-brainer to combine "This drink that does something to you" and "This extremely potent drink that does something to you in small doses". It seems recent that energy shots have became prevalent in the west, but they've been fairly common in the Orient for a few decades now.
- Interestingly, if caffeine had only been discovered in modern day, based on its bodily effects and addictive potential, it might've been evaluated as a dangerous/controlled substance.
- Nutmeg contains a natural hallucinogen. The only problems: It tastes horrible by itself, it takes a huge dose to get anything, the "trip" is anti-euphoric, and the hangovers are debilitatingly awful.
- One of Carl Barks' stories has Scrooge McDuck addicted... to nutmeg tea. It was "A Spicy Tale" from September, 1962.
- In the movie The Wrong Box, old Joseph Finsbury attributes his brother's erratic behavior to a nutmeg poisoning (oblivious to the fact his brother is trying to kill him).
- Nepeta, also known as catnip. In humans it has "soothing" and numbing effects and is used as a flavoring in tea, it's also mixed with tobacco or marijuana and smoked. A study found that a 4-year-old child who had eaten 3 raisins soaked in the stuff got high. Why do you think cats like it so much? Has its own subtrope.
- Calamus root. Theoretically, it's mildly stimulating and in large quantities becomes hallucinogenic. Practically, its taste is "interesting"—if you used to drink black coffee without sweets—but even then trying to chew that much of roots will probably sooner get your whole digestive tract (along with the taste center in brain and maybe skin on the back of your ears) tanned for good than it will make you really "high."
- In Russia, extremely strong tea (leaves boiled to black sludge-strong) known as Chephyr, is sometimes used as substitute for Amphetamine in prisons.
- For a more innocent example, the sunflower seeds ("semki") are immensly popular and are positively IMPOSIBLE to stop nibbling.
- For Retro Studios' staff during the Troubled Production of Metroid Prime, it were Atomic Fireballs. The crew reports 72 gallons were consumed while making the game.
- Salvia divinorum is still legal in most parts of the world, but produces an extremely intense half hour of hallucinations, euphoria, and/or panic when extractions are smoked.
- It has no health effects and is not addictive. However, there's a media campaign against it.
- People have been known to do bizarre things up to and including kill themselves or other people while under the influence of the stuff, but then again, alcohol can do that too...
- Dextromethorphan is a cough medication available without prescription in most parts of the world - despite the fact that it's a potent debilitating hallucinogenic dissociative in high doses.
- Subverted: At least in the USA, recent epidemics of teenagers chugging the syrup and tripping in school has caused companies to mark cough medications, and grocery stores to card youngsters for cough medicine the same way as they would for cigarettes or alcohol.
- Those who have made the decision to quit smoking sometimes pick up another habit to cope with the absence of nicotine, such as eating a certain kind of snack.
- Benadryl, also known as diphenhydramine. Remember how your mom used to give it to you to sleep? People get high off of quantities around 700mg+. The catch? It's basically hell on earth. With spiders.
- For diabetics, too much insulin causes symptoms that mimic drunkenness. Insulin shock is actually a medical emergency.
- At least for Type 1, this is entirely because of low blood sugar. It's mostly blurry vision and tiredness.