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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 Caffeine Bullet Time 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.)
    • Hody Jones and his crew of fishmen consume great quantities of an "energy steroid" which increases their strength. Hody and one of his allies end up overdosing on it. Instead of dying, however, they transform into stronger forms. This is only temporary, and they soon suffer from the downside of the steroid - Rapid Aging.
  • 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 Yu Yu 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 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.
  • The "Druggies" in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED are three human mobile suit pilots who have been taking the drug called Gamma Glipheptin to boost their combat powers to the same level as the Coordinators — with all due consequences to their health and life expectancy.

    Comic Books 
  • Elongated Man drinks a lot of gingold soda and gets super-stretch powers. Evidently, it works only on him.
    • Semi-Averted: 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.
  • Rex Tyler, aka Hourman, derives his powers from synthetic drug "Miraclo," the remaining toxins of which must then be purged in the bloodstream over the following 24 hour period before it can be used again. Rex actually discusses the psychological effects and his reliance on the drug with a concerned Dr Midnite in "The Justice Society Returns!"
    • His son, Rick Tyler, the second Hourman, also had this, much to his father's horror. He knew how addictive and harmful Miraclo was for himself so he was really troubled by the idea of his son following him and using it himself. His fears were founded when use of Miraclo caused Rick to develop leukaemia.
    • There’s also Miraclo’s vicious derivative, Venom. It’s stronger than Miraclo and doesn’t have the time limit, but when the drug wears off, there’s major drawbacks with withdrawals.
    • In the 1992 Justice Society of America series, it's actually inferred that Miraclo was, essentially, either a placebo or just some sort of toxin; the Tyler family just naturally have Super Strength and other related abilities, and using Miraclo was just unlocking it. Training with Jack Chambers, the Golden Age speedster Johnny Quick, allowed Rex and, later, Rick, to activate their powers through just concentration, without the use of the drug.
  • 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.
  • Inverted in Empire, where supervillain tyrant Golgoth keeps his minions under control by feeding them a highly addictive power-boosting drug called "Eucharist". It's so addictive that anyone who stops using has a good chance of being driven permanently insane during withdrawal. The inversion becomes apparent with the discovery that derived from the blood of the defeated superhero Endymion. In other words, Endymion's superhuman biology powers everyone else's addictions.
  • In Grant Morrison's X-Men, the drug Kick is a highly addictive power-booster that only works on mutants. It's actually the sentient bacteria Sublime, making it an inversion as well — Sublime's power is to be an addictive power source.
  • In one incarnation of the Crime Syndicate of Amerika, Johnny Quick derives his powers from an addictive substance made from the blood of his predecessor in the role. It's never shown to work for anyone else.
    • In a later incarnation, after Barry Allen comes Back from the Dead, the previous Johnny Quick does likewise, and now injects himself with his own blood.
  • As shown in Forever Evil, Ultraman gets his powers from grinding Kryptonite into a fine powder and then igniting it with his heat vision so he can snort its fumes.
  • Averted in Captain Alcohol, where the use of alcohol hinders his abilities as opposed to help them.
  • In Diabolik, those who have recently used cocaine and similar drugs tend to recover faster from the title character's Truth Serum 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.
  • In The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye, Roller is already a Point One Percenter and thus possesses incredible power for a Cybertronian. In spite of this, he develops an inferiority complex due to spending so much time around Outliers (who possess powers not related to their alt-modes) and thus becomes addicted to the performance enhancing drug C32. This causes serious threats to his health, requiring him to get clean in order to survive.
  • The original Ant-Man, Hank Pym, early on had to ingest Pym Particles like a drug to grow or shrink, at least until it became natural for his body to produce them (an affect caused by overuse of them), which had a demonstrative effect on his mental health; even as early as the 60s it was shown that it caused anger problems and left him unstable. The Wasp used the same, but had no such issue (nor did Scott Lang, Cassie Lang, or Eric O'Grady), which is later clarified as being because Hank's mental problems were largely unrelated, as he actually just suffered from bipolar disorder, and Pym Particles were merely making his existing condition worse (which is Truth in Television).
  • The Flash:
    • Back in the Golden Age, Jay Garrick had a professional rival named Eric Clarris who managed to work out his Secret Identity and the cause of his superpowers (inhaling hard water vapours during a smoke break), and used the source of this to gain Super Speed himself...but only temporarily, and he had to keep using it like a drug to maintain his powers. He became The Rival, the very first Reverse-Flash.
    • Early in the Wally West tenure as the Flash, we're introduced to Velocity 9, a drug that temporarily grants Super Speed, but with the result being that it causes severe damage to a person's mental well-being and physically health. It's created and marketed by Vandal Savage, and is also used by the estranged husband of Wally's then-girlfriend Tina McGee, causing him to become the Speed Demon.
    • In the late 2000s, we're introduced to a corrupted form of the Speed Force, the Negative Speed Force, which during DC Rebirth is re-hauled into being a mix between this and a G-Rated Drug. It causes the speedster's powers to become destructive and harmful, while also slowly killing them from their use; it lacks the regular Speed Force's Healing Factor properties, and causes those who use it to appear drunk. Though not explicit, it's possible to infer that Eobard Thawne's descent into madness might have been caused by the use of it, rather than being connected to the actual Speed Force.
  • 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 
  • In Scarface, Tony's cocaine allowed him to take a lot of punishment before going down.
  • The Legend of Drunken Master
  • 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.
  • Project Power: A new street drug called "Power" gives people a random superpower for five minutes, or they simply explode. A given person gains the same superpower every time they use, and some of them clearly get intoxicated from the rush.

  • 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 suplicate 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, and Wax from Wax and Wayne became a steel savant and never even noticed.

    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, on 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: 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 Popinskynote . 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 from 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 For Ever, 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.

    Web Animation 
  • In Society of Virtue episode "Blue Crystallic" we see a junkie who hallucinates he is a superhero and that the drugs are the source of his powers.

    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 hundreth 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.


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