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Dr. Feelgood

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"If you're down he'll pick you up, Doctor Robert
Take a drink from his special cup, Doctor Robert
Doctor Robert, you're a new and better man
He helps you to understand
He does everything he can, Doctor Robert

Sometimes a Back-Alley Doctor, sometimes an otherwise respectable doctor, Dr. Feelgood serves as a catalyst for another character's dangerous or unethical prescription drug habit. They may have promised to "do no harm," but at the end of the day, they either are oblivious to the fact that the patient has a problem, or they just don't care.

The Trope Namer is the Mötley Crüe song, though the title character is not literally a doctor. Not to be confused with the Aretha Franklin song or the British pub rock band.

Might also be a Quirky Doctor.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the original AKIRA manga, Kaneda is in a relationship with a girl who works at the school nurse's office and uses her to score drugs for his gang. Understandably, this was cut from the movie.

  • Apartment 3-G has Professor Papagoras providing fake prescriptions for insomnia pills, in exchange for (it is very loosely implied) sex.

    Film — Live Action 
  • In The Cannonball Run, Dr. Nikolas van Helsing is the habit of injecting himself (and anyone else who asks for it) with the unspecified contents of a hypodermic he always carries, which causes him to get a blissful grin and then pass out.
  • The doctor in Requiem for a Dream who continues to write Sara Goldfarb a prescription for diet pills, even when she complains of strange side effects and is clearly developing an addiction.
  • Dr. Finegarten in S.O.B. who doles out prescription drugs like candy. He supplies Sally with the sedatives to relax her enough to do her topless scene.
  • Veronika Voss: Dr. Katz is eviler than your standard Dr. Feelgood. Not only does she hook addicts up with their morphine, she apparently creates addicts deliberately, and then she bleeds them of everything they own, finally driving them to suicide by refusing to give them any more drugs after they run out of money.

  • One of the Chakona Space stories, Tales of the Night Watch, has a ship's doctor nicknamed Dr Feelgood; given that all of the major characters are irregular in some way, she may or may not be a former example; hir real name is Finetouch.
  • In Naked Lunch, the County Clerk recounts a conversation with his local pharmacist:
    "'Well,' Doc says, 'there was a feller in here this morning. City feller. Dressed kinda flashy. So he's got him an RX for a mason jar of morphine... Kinda funny looking prescription writ out on toilet paper... And I told him straight out: 'Mister, I suspect you to be a dope fiend.'
    'I got the ingrowing toenails, Pop. I'm in agony.' he says.
    'Well,' I says, 'I gotta be careful. But so long as you got a legitimate condition and an RX from a certified bona feedy M.D., I'm honored to serve you.'"
  • In You Don't Own Me, murdered neurosurgeon Martin Bell was accused by several patients or their relatives of over-prescribing and over-dosing them on addictive pain medications to 'cure' them of their chronic pain, as well as allegedly giving patients extra pills under the table; he had several pending lawsuits at the time of his murder. It noted that one woman being treated for pain related to bone cancer said the drugs made her fatigued, causing her to get into a fender bender, while George Naughten said the medication prescribed to his mother was addictive and "made her into a zombie", blaming Martin for her eventual death by overdose. Despite Martin's parents insisting they only settled the lawsuits to prevent Martin's name being dragged through the mud, it's confirmed he was over-dosing his patients and was also giving drugs to his wife for her depression.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 30 Rock has Dr. Leo Spaceman (pronounced Spa-CHEH-man), first introduced prescribing "wildly experimental medication" to Tracy Jordan. When Liz calls him (due to Tracy Jordan flipping out from all his meds), he asks Liz if there are any medications that she'd like.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Amy was the root of Willow's 'relapse' into her magic habit.
  • FBI: Most Wanted: Dr. Jason Brock, the Villain of the Week in "Dopesick", is running a pill mill for a biker gang. He writes prescriptions for opioids for the addicts the biker gang sends him as patients without even the most cursory examination: listing 'back pain' as the reason for prescription. The addicts fill the scripts, keep a percentage of the pills for their own use, and give the rest to the bikers to on-sell. Aside from the huge number of prescriptions written, the FBI are tipped off because all of his 'patients' pay cash.
  • Friday Night Lights: After Luke Cafferty gets injured injured in a farm accident, he blows through a month's prescription in a week. Desperate to keep playing football and "play through the pain", he asks Tim Riggins for help. Tim refers him to a local doctor, telling him to compliment the doctor on his college football career and how to answer the very rote questions (the doctor doesn't even vary the order of the questions).
  • A Victim of the Week on The Glades was one of these and the clinic he operated was a 'pill mill'. It turned out that the clinic was only one of a whole chain of pill mills operated by a corrupt medical company. Also, the dead doctor was doing it so he could raise money for medical supplies to send to earthquake-ravaged Haiti
  • Glee:
    • Sandy, the former choir teacher, sets up a pot-dealing ring after he's prescribed medicinal marijuana and even refers to his prescriber/supplier as "Dr. Feelgood".
    • Terri doling out pseudoephedrine when she becomes the school Nurse (despite not actually being a nurse).
  • House: Dr. Gregory House is his own Dr. Feelgood, what with the Vicodin addiction and all. However, due to the rules against doctors writing prescriptions for themselves, he usually has Wilson or one of his minions get the goods for him. They occasionally find this is true of the patients they're treating that week; one episode had them discover a working Mom was filling a Ritalin prescription for her children without the knowledge of her family so she could take the pills herself for the buzz.
  • Key & Peele: Played for laughs in a sketch when a drug seeking man goes to a clinic where the doctors freely hand out medical marijuana prescriptions. Despite coaching from the doctor to claim that he's suffering from back pain, anxiety, or insomnia, the patient comes up with a series of increasingly unlikely ailments like AIDS, leprosy, scurvy, rickets, and consumption, leading the fed up doctor to slap him in the face:
    Doctor: Does your face hurt, Mr. Washington?
    Patient: Yeah.
    Doctor: [Shoves prescription at him] Then this should help!
  • Law & Order had a case once involving one of these. They had a little trouble coming up with a charge that would stick because the drugs he was prescribing and supplying weren't actually illegal.
  • On Mad Men the creative team has to work over the weekend to come up with a new campaign pitch for an important client. Everyone is very tired so Rogers suggests that they call in a doctor he knows that can give them 'vitamin shots' that will give them the energy they need to finish the project. The doctor injects everyone with what appears to be methamphetamines. Things turn weird quickly with people acting loony and some even start hurting themselves. It is implied that the doctor also supplies Roger with LSD.
  • Referenced in an episode of Malcolm in the Middle, when a new neighbor asks Lois who her doctor is. Lois asks what the problem is, and the neighbor replies "back pain," and goes on to imply that she will say anything to get the pills she wants. Lois replies, "Sorry, my doctor's honest."
  • A New Tricks episode focusing on the death of a rock singer, had his former bandmates point the detectives at 'Doc' who supplied them all with drugs back in the day. The guy turned out to be just a dealer rather than an actual doctor.
  • On Shadowhunters, Victor Aldertree, head of the Institute and a former field medic, gives Isabelle the Fantastic Drug yin fen. This is allegedly to help her recover from an injury, but he plays up his helpfulness in seeking a date with her. The drug is also extremely addictive, being made from vampire venom. Unable to get it from any source except for Aldertree, Isabelle ends up seeking out actual vampires to get bitten.
  • The Vorta of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. When not being snobby "ambassadors" for the Founders, their primary job is to keep the Jem'Hadar supplied with Ketracel White, they drug they need to live.

  • The Beatles "Doctor Robert" from Revolver. "If you're down he'll pick you up/Take a drink from his special cup.../Well, well, well you're feeling fine/Well, well, well he'll make you"
  • Cypress Hill's "Dr. Greenthumb" specializes in cultivating home-grown marijuana. His business plan seems to be more about supplying independent growers with the means to hide their operation from the police than about supplying pot directly.
  • An astoundingly honest and straight-forward one is the subject of 'I Buy The Drugs' by Electric Six.
  • The Moody Blues wrote a musical ode to Dr. Timothy Leary, historically one of the greatest advocates for LSD, entitled "Legend of a Mind".
  • Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" has verses apparently sung by such a doctor who's aiming to revive the KO'd protagonist to make him perform a show; the movie of the album shows it's not that glamorous. The song was partially inspired by Roger Waters' encounter of one when he fell ill on tour:
    Is there anybody in there?
    Just nod if you can hear me.
    Is there anyone home?
    Come on, Come on, Come on, now,
    I hear you're feeling down.
    Well, I can ease your pain
    Get you on your feet again.
  • "Mother's Little Helper," by The Rolling Stones, is about 1960s mothers needing to take prescription "uppers" to keep up with all their daily duties. It includes a warning about overdoses of prescription pills.
    And though she's not really ill/There's a little yellow pill...
    Doctor please, some more of these/Outside the door, she took four more.
  • WASP has "Doctor Rockter" from the Concept Album The Crimson Idol
    He's the king of sting, Mr. Morphine my friend
    Uncle Slam, the medicine man
    And I'm a junkie with a big King Kong-sized monkey
    Crawling up and down my back

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Pusher career of Myriad Song is very much this: a medic that is good at smooth-talking and the medicines that he uses to heal his team's injuries, while powerful and effective, have a pretty good chance of becoming addictive.

  • The doctor who first prescribed Mary Tyrone morphine in Long Day's Journey Into Night, as well as the doctors who continue to do so while she's Off the Wagon.
  • Wendla, the female teenage protagonist in the original stage play of Spring Awakening, is killed by pills prescribed to her as an abortifacient. The doctor never tells her she's pregnant and insists they are for anemia.

    Video Games 
  • Ada Straus, found in the town of Novac in Fallout: New Vegas is both a fairly incompetent doctor (though she can still provide treatments to you), and a seller of illegal, addictive chems like Jet and Buffout. She's the only character in the game who does both.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Dr. Potterswheel in Moral Orel gives Bloberta painkillers in response to her mutilating her lower region with a jackhammer, as he's turned on by this. He's also revealed to be a widower who also gave his wife painkillers as opposed to actually treating her, which may have resulted in her death.
  • The Venture Bros.: Dr. Venture visits a "Tijuana doctor" for a resupply of his pills. Initially the doctor balks at prescribing such a large amount of drugs, and was insulted that Dr. Venture assumed he'd just grant a prescription because he was a Mexican doctor. Dr. Benjamin helped smooth the ruffles.