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A character is addicted to a substance: drugs, alcohol, caffeine... For most people, it would only cause lots of trouble. Not for this guy. He earns superpowers from an over-consumption, and/or each time he consumes the substance.

Usually, nobody else will get this kind of powers from this substance. Not some kind of Super Serum or Psycho Serum, or anything similarly exotic. The drug was not designed to give them superpowers; it just inexplicably does.

A subtrope of Addictive Magic. Related to Drunken Master (when the character is indeed an alcoholic and much stronger after a drink), Booze-Based Buff and Must Have Caffeine. Compare Power High. See also It's Snowing Cocaine, and Power-Up Food.

Not to be confused with Drunk on the Dark Side.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • One Piece: Franky's case is a bit different: He's a cyborg who uses cola as an energy source, mostly because he loves cola. (He can use other carbonated drinks, juices or even tea, with... mixed results.)
  • Darker than Black: Each Contractor has a "remuneration" that they need to indulge for their powers to work, some of which fall under this trope. The Hard-Drinking Party Girl April is lucky enough that her remuneration is to drink alcohol, which she loves; conversely, the Straight Edge Evil agent November 11 absolutely hates being forced to smoke cigarettes.
  • In Wolf's Rain, Quent Yaden gains the ability to see through the wolves' humanoid disguises after consuming alcohol. On the downside, it impairs his aiming skills.
  • Chu from YuYu Hakusho in the Dark Tournament arc gets stronger and can release more energy the drunker he gets.
  • Inverted with Fujusawa-sensei from El-Hazard: The Magnificent World. He gains Super Strength as a result of coming to El-Hazard, but only when he stops drinking. He's not happy about this. He's also a chain smoker, so it's further inverted when he finds he gets even stronger when he stops smoking. He's also not happy about this.

    Comic Books 
  • Elongated Man drinks a lot of gingold soda and gets super-stretch powers. Evidently, it works only on him.
    • Somewhat explained: Gingold can increase flexibility in most people who drink it, but you have to go to serious overdose levels to get actual stretching abilities, which can then be maintained by regular drinking of the normal product. A significant section of the human population is allergic to gingold extract and thus unable to take advantage of the herb's special properties.
  • The New Guardians villain Snowflame is the poster boy for this trope (he's the page image!), having actual observable supernatural abilities powered by cocaine, which he worships as a god.
  • Tintin: Give a few drops of alcohol to a tired Captain Haddock, and he'll be good as new. Just make sure he doesn't get too much.
  • Justice League of America: In one incarnation of the Crime Syndicate of Amerika, Johnny Quick derives his Super Speed from an addictive substance made from the blood of his predecessor in the role. It's never shown to work for anyone else.
  • Averted in Captain Alcohol, where the use of alcohol hinders his abilities as opposed to helping them.
  • In Diabolik, those who have recently used cocaine and similar drugs tend to recover faster from the title character's Truth Serums and sleep agents. Justified as stimulant drugs and narcotics (including the truth serum) do in fact counteract each other.
  • The weird-ass 2000 AD comic Storming Heaven revolves around superhumans being born from experiments with LSD in the 1960s. Unfortunately, this also gives rise to new supervillains like Charles Manson.
  • Kick-Ass: Big Daddy gave Hit Girl a squeezer of what he claimed was a Super Serum for emergencies. Kick-Ass is pretty sure it's just cocaine.

    Fan Works 
  • In the superheroes parody Super Therapy!, The Flash gets his Super Speed from what he calls "Flash Powder". His therapist rightly concludes that he's addicted to cocaine.
  • In Equestria Divided the warriors of Cult of Laughter are to drugs what a Drunken Master is to alcohol, they genuinely are more effective when on drugs because of making them less predictable and reducing their sense of self-preservation.
  • Fallout: Equestria: Pinkie Pie discovered that zebra drugs improved her mysterious "Pinkie Sense" which let her sense danger, and her own enhanced "Party-Time Mint-als" improved it even further. She combined this with her Ministry's ubiquitous surveillance network to root out threats to Equestria by always knowing which leads to follow up on. Unfortunately, she was still very much a drug addict. Her addiction destroyed her relationships with her friends until she broke down and sent Twilight a message asking for her to take Pinkie to the clinic after one last mission—her Pinkie Sense was warning her about a big plot, and she needed to wrap it up. Her troops were only a few minutes late, resulting in Manehatten being destroyed by a balefire bomb. Pinkie's skeleton is eventually found in her office, clutching a figurine of Twilight Sparkle. And Twilight never got the message.
    Pinkie: Party-Time Mint-als are bad. They mess ponies up. I know I'm messed up. More than ever. But I've needed them. Normal old Pinkie Pie is smart and she can sense when things are coming. But Party-Time Mint-als make me... more. Not better. I know that now. But... more. And we need more. Equestria needs more.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Scarface (1983): Just before the climactic confrontation with Sosa's goons, Tony Montana takes a huge dose of cocaine. Combined with the adrenaline of the ensuing firefight, he's able to withstand being shot multiple times and takes out several of his attackers, even taunting them as they pepper him with bullets. It takes The Skull shooting Tony in the back with a shotgun to finally kill him.
  • In The Wolf of Wall Street, the main character has taken so many downers that he can barely move. Inspired by a Popeye cartoon on the television, he snorts cocaine until he's charged up enough to be marginally functional.
  • During the Birds of Prey movie, Harley is in a fight with Sionis's people at a police warehouse and has taken cover behind a huge stack of cocaine as three of the guys open fire on her. The white powder gets everywhere, and Harley not only gets a whiff of it but decides to inhale the loose powder, which gets her all geared up and ready to kick ass with a baseball bat.
  • In Guns Akimbo, Skizm reigning champion, Nix, is already pretty deadly on her own, but when she takes a hit of crack, she is instantly invigorated and fights like she just got a power-up (complete with power-up sound effects).

  • In Lawrence Watt-Evans' The Legends of Ethshar books, the magical power that warlocks have was given by something, possibly a meteorite. It suddenly awoke power in thousands of people. The more that warlocks use their power, the more powerful they get, the more they want to use it, but when they use too much of it, they are compelled to fly to the source and are never heard from again. It's portrayed as an addiction.
  • Szamanka od Umarlaków: Kwiatuszek ("Flower"), whose Awesomeness by Analysis powers are powered by junk food and caffeine. They still make her fat, but she long ago decided that she won't be a Brainless Beauty.
  • In the Dune novels, Guild Navigators fit. Breathing great quantities of melange/spice gives them limited powers of prescience, enough to find safe passage when their ship is traveling faster than light. It also deforms them significantly. The general population doesn't gain this benefit, but that's because they don't literally breathe nothing but spice all day, every day (at most, they take it in tablets and put it in their food and drink — particularly their coffee, since it tastes like cinnamon).
    • The Bene Gesserit are also an example, particularly demonstrated in God-Emperor of Dune when they are forced to supplicate to God-Emperor Leto II for their Spice allocation. Also noteworthy in Chapterhouse: Dune in showing the Sisterhood's need to re-create the Spice after the Honored Matres both destroyed Rakis and Tleilax, the two sources of the drug, it also had an updated version of the Agony portrayed.
  • In Wild Cards, Captain Trips has several different Superpowered Alter Egos, each of which is triggered by taking a different derivation of LSD.
  • In Super Powereds, Hershel's Superpowered Alter Ego Roy comes out only when Hershel has some whiskey. This appears to be part of the procedure that turned Hershel from a Powered into a Super. Subverted in that no addition is involved (and Hershel isn't a big drinker anyway). Also, after turning into Roy, whiskey doesn't have any further effect, except keep Roy active. In Year 2, Roy meets a freshman, who loves beer to the point of obsession. Ironically, it turns out that his Super Strength is far more affected by hard liquor than beer. The kid gets stronger the more alcohol he consumes, but he also gets more drunk and can't sustain it for long.
  • Deathstalker: Valentine Wolfe is the son of a preeminent nobleman in the galaxy's Decadent Court, who uses a frankly astounding variety of Fantastic Drugs. These include ones that grant Super Reflexes, Super Strength, Hyper-Awareness, Rubber Man resilience, and daydreams so lurid that he can No-Sell a Psychic-Assisted Suicide because it's tame by comparison. No few of those drugs were intended for sexual purposes before he got hold of them, effectively inverting (well, zig-zagging) Power Perversion Potential.
  • Mistborn:
    • Downplayed. If an allomancer uses their metal too much, they will become a "savant" as their physiology adapts to the power. They receive increased power and efficiency with their metal but suffer serious withdrawal symptoms if they stop using it.
    • The most well-known savants are tin savants; burning tin increases all their senses, and tin savants require blindfolds to be able to see, can hear heartbeats from a hundred feet away, and scream when they touch anything (if they run out of tin, their senses become so deadened they Feel No Pain). Tin's opposite, pewter, enhances physical toughness, but most people who would become pewter savants die from pushing themselves too hard before they cross the threshold.
    • Every other metal has savants, but since they do not cause physical enhancements, the effects are far less pronounced. Most people who use zinc and brass (which control emotions) become savants sooner rather than later.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On WKRP in Cincinnati, Johnny and Venus get drunk and then have their reflexes measured live on-air as a PSA against drunk driving. For some reason, the more Johnny drinks, the better his reflexes are.
  • Similarly, in Designing Women, the girls' wacky friend Bernice is required by her niece to have a competency hearing. The morning of the hearing, they come downstairs to see her drinking some leftover champagne from the night before. This worries them since Bernice is kooky at the best of times. Bernice then mentioned how she had played loud music the night before to keep the aforementioned niece up all night, saying "Of course I kept her awake all night, does she think I want her fresh for my sanity hearing?" Mary Jo lampshades it, saying "Liquor seems to have the opposite effect on you, you seem sharper."
  • Isaac Mendez on Heroes discovers an ability to paint the future. Unfortunately, Isaac is also a heroin addict who finds he can paint only when high. This effectively means that Isaac's ability is dependent on drug use, creating some awkward issues for him. Eventually, he gets himself clean and discovers that he can paint the future even when sober.
  • Happy Endings: One episode has Penny getting drunk, which gives her the power to speak and understand Italian. This isn't just a couple of drinks, either; she has to get wasted to get to the point where she can do this. She gets with a cute Italian guy this way, but he leaves her because he was traumatized by his father's alcoholism. (Side option: Alex starts lavishly eating ribs when smashed. Not as impressive.)
  • My Name Is Earl: Randy is an adept liar, con man, and all-around competent at doing stuff, but only after he's had four beers. No more, no less.
  • There was a Forever Knight episode where Natalie found that a drug called Lidobuterine (sp?) seemed to cure Nick's vampirism. However, it turned into the drug being addictive, and in order to remain 'human', Nick had to keep taking it and get more and more of the drug at once.
  • Captain Janeway of Star Trek: Voyager claims she beat the Borg with coffee. She also shows some suspiciously strong indications of having an unhealthy relationship to coffee, which is where that claim starts to enter into this trope.
  • MADtv (1995): Stan the Coffee Guy is a coffee addict, though he usually tries to fight his addiction. When he goes berserk in a coffee factory a security guard tries to take him down with a taser, but the stuff has made Stan so hyperactive that he's immune to electric jolts. The confused guard then tries tasering himself and ends up knocking himself unconscious.
  • In Series 2 of Danger 5, Pierre gets Super Serum effects from snorting cocaine off people's tits. At one point he even dips his guns in a pile of cocaine to shoot coke-covered bullets.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Followers of Slaanesh, the god(dess) of hedonism and excess, are usually hopped up on enough drugs to by all rights kill them. They get boosts to their Initiative scores and may even gain the Feel No Pain rule.
    • Dark Eldar are quite similar (considering they're the only reason Slaanesh exists in the first place) but they at least make sure to distinguish between drugs and combat drugs.
  • Grifters in Deadlands Noir are spellcasters who derive their powers (or, more precisely, their ability to draw power from the Hunting Grounds) from some addictive and self-destructive vice, either a substance or a habit such as gambling.

    Video Games 
  • Punch-Out!!'s Soda Popinskinote . He drinks huge amounts of soda, even in the ring. The drink restores his stamina and increases his punching power, albeit for a short time.
  • Dragon Age: Unlike the mages, who simply get a power boost from Lyrium, the Templars' abilities are powered solely by it. However, it is also addictive as hell, and the Chantry monopolizes Lyrium trade to keep its Templar junkies on a short leash. Just to make the situation murkier, Alistair has the abilities of a Templar despite never finishing his training, and Warrior characters in both games can get the Templar Prestige Class. Lyrium does boost Templar abilities, but it's unclear how necessary it is. Things get worse in Dragon Age: Inquisition when a faction of Templars start using Red Lyrium, an even more powerful and dangerous variant of lyrium tainted by the Blight.
  • In Alpha Protocol, the 1980s-themed villain, Konstantin Brayko ingests enormous amounts of cocaine to power up and fight Mike Thorton, allowing Brayko to do things like run incredibly fast and be temporarily bulletproof. You can thwart this by having Steven Heck sabotage his supply.
  • The insane crime boss Jack Lupino in the original Max Payne overdoses on Valkyr and takes an ungodly amount of lead into the body before he bites the dust. Justified much later by The Reveal that Valkyr was originally developed by US military to create Super Soldiers, and were working completely as intended on Lupino... except for the side effects, which resemble amphetamine psychosis with a side of Mushroom Samba.
  • In the Mass Effect setting, the drug Red Sand is capable of enhancing biotic powers, though it's considered an illegal narcotic in most parts of the galaxy.
  • In Mother Russia Bleeds, the street drug Nekro (a thinly veiled expy for Krokodil) is used as a power-up that can heal you or send you into a temporary berserk mode. It also serves as a constant peril for the protagonists, who are motivated by their desire to get this shit out of their system, with the final boss being a hallucinatory manifestation of the drug itself that you must defeat without juicing up in order to get the best ending.
  • In Fallout Jet is, in-universe, an analogue to meth or crack. In the modern sequels, it restores action points, except in Fallout 4 where it induces Bullet Time. Noteworthy in that it's presented as nothing but a drug, in a world where radiation is basically magic and functional Super Serum exists in the form of Psycho. It should also be known that it was first synthesized from the fumes of Brahmin shitWhy?  and the drug's effects are made more potent using a mix of sugars from soda or breakfast cereal and cleaning agents or using flamethrower fuel.
    • Fallout 4 also has an unusually literal example in the "Junkie's" legendary weapon effect, which increases the weapon's damage the more substances the Sole Survivor is addicted to. There's also Mama Murphy, one of the earliest NPCs you meet. She claims to have "the sight", a form of prescience that's triggered by taking various drugs. The companion Cait will also admit, once her reaction to you gets high enough, that her combat abilities are due to her being a massive Psycho addict, to the point where she's started puking blood on a regular basis and begs you to take her to a nearby Vault for an experimental treatment before it kills her.
  • In Duke Nukem Forever, drinking beer allows Duke to take more damage from enemies at the cost of having blurry vision for the duration of the buff. Taking steroids disables the ability to use weapons, but allows Duke to deal massive amounts of melé damage. Taking both at the same time allows Duke to splatter his enemies with his fists while taking minimal damage, and nets the player the trophy/achievement "Substance Abuser."
  • In Rimworld, Luciferum is a very advanced glitterworld drug that makes the user a host for nanomachines. After only one dose, the user becomes a superhuman worker and fighter enhanced in mind and body, immune to disease, and able to recover any lost body part (even brain damage!). However the user is forever addicted to the Luciferum and without a weekly dose, the nanomachines break down, causing the user to go berserk. If they aren't killed in self-defence, they eventually die anyway.
  • One of the active items that can be used in Enter the Gungeon is a cube of spice, that, when consumed for the first time, increases the player's maximum health and movement speed. However, using it also increases the likelihood of more spice replacing future weapon and item pickups in the same run, and, while further consumption does incur other buffs (such as increasing your damage output and slowing the speed of enemy bullets), the player's 'Curse' stat will also increase each time, making encounters of Jammed enemies more common. To drive the point home, the tagline associated with the spice will change on each pickup to reflect its addictive nature:
    First time: A tantalizing cube of power.
    Second time: One more couldn't hurt.
    Third time: Just one more hit...
    Fourth and subsequent times: MORE

    Web Animation 
  • Parodied in Society of Virtue episode "Blue Crystallic". The titular character thinks he is a superhero whose source of power is a crystal. In reality, he is a junkie hallucinating while taking drugs.

    Web Comics 
  • In Sinfest when Squigley gets stoned enough he can fly using whatever he is sitting on at the time, usually his couch, but at least once, his toilet. Squigley attributes this to being a "shaman" (which has Truth in Television as marijuana was one of the most common plants shamans would use for their ceremonies. Squigley's usage does, on a surface level at least, allow him to literally somewhat disconnect from reality, becoming somewhat intangible. And of course, the flight capabilities.)
  • Snowflame, the poster boy for this trope, is no different in his fan-made adventures.

    Web Videos 
  • Caleb from Flander's Company earned short-range teleportation after spending some time drinking an average of 8 liters of coffee a day. Consuming more coffee also makes him more powerful, allowing him to teleport a whole building at one point.
  • In Fallout: Nuka Break, it's revealed in Season 2 that Twig has drunk so much Nuka-Cola in his life that it has altered his DNA, to the point that drinking Nuka-Cola gives him a minor Healing Factor. For instance, a two-day-old bullet wound appears to have been healing for over a week.

    Western Animation 
  • South Park: Marijuana gives Towelie [an anthropomorphic towel] Popeye-like powers. Well, Towelie thinks so. Detached onlookers see a very different story.
  • The Futurama episode "300 Big Boys" has Fry tap into the speed force when he gulps his hundredth coffee cup of the episode.
  • Family Guy: Peter Griffin can play the piano beautifully, but only when he's blackout drunk.
  • Brad from SuperMansion is powered up by heroin and other illegal drugs.