: You sure Layla's asleep? Nina
: 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 A Certain Scientific 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 N.H.K. 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.
- Chihiro Kawai from Pretty Sammy has an extreme addiction to karaoke, at one point going through withdrawals after her new computer (which she mistook for a high-tech karaoke machine) breaks. In a later episode she even ties up and gags a bus attendant and steals the woman's microphone so she can lead a tour bus in a rendition of one of her songs.
- One chapter of Ah! My Goddess started with Belldandy first drinking everyone under the table at a party, and she explains that alcohol simply has no effect on her. Then she has one can of cola and is instantly intoxicated. Hilarity Ensues.
- In Justice League International, Martian Manhunter developed an addiction to Oreos, which were later renamed "Chocos" due to copyright issues. When Booster Gold and Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) played a prank on J'onn by hiding his Chocos, he went on a rampage.
- Dandelions were implied to be hallucinogenic, addictive and self-destructive in Bloom County several times.
- Frequently in Peanuts, whenever Linus is without his blanket, he suffers painful-looking withdrawal symptoms. In one sequence Charlie Brown agrees to keep Linus company during a night in which his blanket is missing. Charlie explains as the punchline, "The first night without the blanket is going to be the hardest."
Films — Animated
- While 9 is rated PG-13 for its Family-Unfriendly Violence and terror, 8's addiction to magnetism still fulfills this trope.
- Simba pretty much uses the philosophy of Hakuna Matata in The Lion King in the same way some drug addicts use drugs to solve their problems.
- During The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, Spongebob gets a hangover from too much ice cream.
- Archibald Snatcher, the Big Bad of The Boxtrolls, is obsessed with cheese as a status symbol, even though eating it causes a violent allergic reaction that not only makes his face swell up in a nasty fashion, but causes him to act like a surly drunk and even hallucinate at one point. One of his lackeys, Mr. Pickles, even wars him "You know what cheese does to you…"
- While Fantastic Planet is hardly G-rated, the film abounds with drug imagery, drug effects, hallucinatory other-worlds - and yet, no real drugs.
Films - Live-Action
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer had magic during season 6, especially during the episode "Wrecked".
- 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. Another episode focused on Robbie and Spike happening upon a plant in the forest which they eat, and become high. Robbie brings it back home and soon Earl and Charlene get high on it, and Earl brings it to work where everyone there eats it too—including his boss Mr. Richfield—and they're in a marijuana-like high for most of the episode, eventually running out of food in the house. In the end, they go back to the forest to find more of the plant, only to find Spike—who never left where he was—covered in dirt and leaves after just being high in the forest for a week. Robbie then lampshades this by breaking the fourth wall and telling the audience that drugs are bad because drug use compels sitcoms like Dinosaurs to do obligatory drug-PSA episodes like this one.
- How I Met Your Mother plays this for laughs, having the father refer to marijuana as "sandwiches" in order to avoid outright mentioning the drug to his kids, 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 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.
- Kamen Rider has sometimes used the drug metaphor for whatever's turning people into the Monster of the Week:
- 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.
- Lock Seeds in Kamen Rider Gaim don't have any drug-like effects with their usual use of summoning Invase Mons, but they're sold by a shady character named Sid, who dresses and behaves suspiciously like a drug dealer. It doesn't help that Sid and his superiors have an ulterior motive and specifically target kids because they're immature and don't know better.
- ...But for less usual uses, the drug effects become more apparent. For starters, any Invase that eats a Lock Seed goes One-Winged Angel. The Riders also use Drivers to use the Seeds' powers on themselves; and when one gets his Driver destroyed he definitely seems to be going through power withdrawal (including hallucinations). And then there's the fruit that the Seeds come from, which is supernaturally tempting and - while apparently safe for Invase to eat - causes a transformation into a mad Invase when consumed by humans.
- 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.
- Star Trek: The Original Series has made several references to Vulcans reacting to chocolate like alcohol.
- In Star Trek: Voyager, as Voyager itself doesn't have a Ship's Counselor, Chakotay talks Captain Janeway into trying a Vision Quest. He says his people used to contact the spirit realm using psychoactive herbs, but considering it wouldn't be a Family Friendly Aesop to have Janeway coping with The Chains of Commanding by getting stoned, an Applied Phlebotinum called an akoonah is used instead.
- Dollhouse features a mysterious "memory drug" in the season one episode "Echoes". Supposedly, it 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 & 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.
- In Farscape, one episode has the crew travelling back in time to Earth through a wormhole. They arrive on Halloween, and Rygel gets hopped up on sugar, acting a bit like a crack/speed addict.
Rygel: Chrichton! How illegal is this dren?
- 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. The Sims 2 had the bubble blower, which caused Sims to giggle and even float!
- Yoshis Island: Touch Fuzzy, Get Dizzy and the entire screen will turn Technicolor, swirl and walking straight will become a challenge. Just imagine if it happened to you in real life.
- In Sly 2: Band Of Thieves, 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 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.
- Fangame Sonic: After the Sequel has the Sugar Splash Zone and the piles of sugar lying around the stage that give Sonic beady eyes and make him run faster when he runs into them. Cue cocaine jokes.
- 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).
- And in the movie Idle Hands, Anton is told by his stoner buddies that "I hear if you combine nutmeg and oregano you can get pretty wasted." He tries it, and it's apparently disgusting. Later when he's killing those same stoner friends, one of them, trying to call the cops, exclaims that "I think he smoked some nutmeg or something!"
- Nutmeg would be just another crappy drug except for the timeframe involved: Onset is 3-4 hours, peak 9-12, and distinct aftereffects of 2-3 DAYS. Deliriants are a hell of a drug.
- 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.
- Coca is an interesting case. In Peru, the leaves are commonly chewed directly or brewed into a tea. (It's quite common to see boxes of coca tea in the grocery store right next to the Earl Grey.) In normal amounts, this is said to prevent altitude sickness; larger doses can be somewhat intoxicating. Of course, grinding up and concentrating the leaves gives you a drug that's most certainly not G-rated. For this reason, trying to import even a commercially-packaged box of coca tea into the U.S. will, at the very least, result in confiscation and a long chat with a customs agent.