Drugs Are Bad, right? They're dangerous. You can get addicted. You could overdose. They have harmful side effects. You could bankrupt yourself, ruin your career, catch diseases from dirty needles. Drugs are bad!
But what if they aren't bad?
Maybe you take a drug and you feel really awesome. Maybe drugs lighten your bad mood. Maybe they make life more exciting. Maybe spiking the punch makes the Wild Teen Party a lot more fun. Drugs are good!
As the title indicates, Drugs Are Good is the inverse of Drugs Are Bad. This trope is for instances in fiction and creative works where the use of drugs and alcohol is portrayed in a positive light. Drugs Are Good is most frequently seen with cigarettes and alcohol, which have always been more or less socially acceptable. It also may accompany depictions of marijuana use, given the common perception of marijuana as a less harmful drug than other illegal drugs. Invocations of Drugs Are Good with harder drugs such as cocaine and heroin are rarer, but not unknown; both drugs used to be legal and used medicinally and recreationally until the 1920s. LSD can sometimes be depicted as such, where it's used as a tool for greater understanding and making things look more colorful.
Many Stoner Flicks are examples of this. Ode to Intoxication is the musical equivalent, if it's played straight. Related tropes include Drunken Master (getting drunk/stoned makes you better at something) and Smoking Is Cool (which is about signaling a character is cool but does involve a positive portrayal of smoking).
Compare with Higher Understanding Through Drugs, which isn't so much "drugs are good" (it's often depicted as a creepy or forceful effect) as "drugs are useful".
The Functional Addict may believe this but they really aren't an example. The Smug Straight Edge or the Dry Crusader may pop up in a Drugs Are Good work. This trope may get paired with Drugs Are Bad in a work that shows the "good" side of drugs but then pivots to Drugs Are Bad to show the consequences.
- Most every commercial or print advertisement for beer and alcohol is this. A commercial can't tell you how the beer tastes (and, on U.S. television, can't show it being drunk on camera), but it can show you some cool-looking people holding beer at a party.
- Cigarette advertisements did this as well before government regulations drove them from the air. Camel cigarettes, preferred by doctors! The Marlboro Man remained in print ads as an example of masculinity until 1999.
- An ad for Alien: Covenant that crosses over with Rick and Morty shows that Rick's consumption of alcohol and drugs has made him immune enough to Facehuggers that one dies within seconds before it could impregnate him. A "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, as the movie proper sees Lope, a Cigar Chomper, be a host for a chestburster.
- The plot of Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine involves a hallucinogenic drug called "dizzy dizzy" which is stated to have been derived from research into LSD. While it is a villainous force throughout the story, the end of the first episode shows Lupin, after launching the drug into the ocean, frolicking happily in brightly-coloured hallucinogenic water and encouraging the others to come for a swim with him, with no ill effects. Even later, when the villains get him high on the drug and reality begins to break down, he alludes to Zenigata that he'd be enjoying this if Zenigata hadn't shown up. One of the sequel movies also shows Fujiko casually hitting a bong while relaxing after a heist.
- Being an expy of Hunter S. Thompson, Spider Jerusalem of Transmetropolitan does all his best writing on drugs. Makes his assistants take up smoking at the very least (in Jerusalem's future, an anti-cancer genetic trait can be acquired via taking a pill). Though he does go on the occasional binge where he's too out of it to do anything. Also, in contrast with the non-cancerous smoking, Jerusalem's breadth and depth of substance abuse is shown to be slowly exceeding the threshold that even the advanced medicine of his time can prevent or repair.
- Grant Morrison is extremely fond of this trope, as well as character drug use in general:
- In Animal Man, the main character ingests peyote, which briefly opens his eyes to the fact that he is in a comic book.
- All-Star Superman ends with Lex Luthor incoherently trying to explain a psychedelic experience brought on by his newfound Kryptonian powers, which causes him to undergo a pivotal HeelFace Turn at the end.
- Subverted somewhat in V for Vendetta, in which Finch is able to track down the titular terrorist by "getting into his head"- i.e., taking LSD.
- That said, Alan Moore plays this straight in several of his works, especially his Swamp Thing run. The hallucinogenic tubers that grow out of the titular character's back help several characters achieve Higher Understanding Through Drugs, though it's suggested that the tubers act as more of a "cosmic litmus paper" that make life a living hell for any bad people who eat them.
- Charlie Chaplin liked this trope.
- In The Cure, Charlie's an alcoholic trying to dry out at a health spa. His stash of liquor is discovered and thrown out—into the well that guests at the spa drink mineral water from. A really fun-looking party ensues.
- In Easy Street, Charlie sits on a cocaine syringe. The jolt of energy he gets helps him to rescue the Love Interest and beat up a gang of thugs.
- Similarly, in Modern Times, Charlie winds up accidentally ingesting some cocaine that another prisoner hid in a salt shaker. It helps him foil a jailbreak.
- As noted above, many (but not all) Stoner Flicks are this. The Harold and Kumar series, where a heartwarming moment is Kumar's girlfriend telling him to use her pee to beat drug tests, is a good example.
Kumar: But weed is so good. It gets you high!
- The Mystery of the Leaping Fish is a very strange short film from 1916 starring Douglas Fairbanks as a private detective named Coke Ennyday who really, really likes cocaine. Possibly a satirical take on Sherlock Holmes, he is constantly shooting up with cocaine and laughing like a maniac. He defeats the bad guys by jabbing them with cocaine syringes until they're as high as he is.
- Poltergeist. Diane and Steven Freeling are shown smoking a marijuana cigarette together and having a great time.
- The Thin Man and its sequels. Nick Charles drinks and drinks and drinks, and it appears to do nothing but make him more witty and charming.
- In the film Mac and Devin Go to High School the CG joint narrator filibusters about how weed is good and should be legalized. In the story proper, weed is also what helps the valedictorian finally relax and enjoy his life.
- The Breakfast Club: Bender brings some grass he had stashed in his school locker and the kids have an eighties montage over smoking it in the school library during detention.
- Played with in Biopic satire Walk Hard. Dewey Cox does in fact have drug problems that force him into rehab. But his bandmate Sam, who introduces him to each drug in turn as a Running Gag, seems to have no problem with drugs other than resenting Dewey for never paying for them. And Sam gets off an epic defense of marijuana.
Sam: No, Dewey, you don't want this. Get outta here!Dewey Cox: You know what, I don't want no hangover. I can't get no hangover.Sam: It doesn't give you a hangover!Dewey: Wha-I get addicted to it or something?Sam: It's not habit-forming!Dewey: Oh, okay...well, I don't know...I don't want to overdose on it.Sam: You can't OD on it!Dewey: It's not gonna make me wanna have sex, is it?Sam: It makes sex even better!Dewey: Sounds kind of expensive.Sam: It's the cheapest drug there is.
- The 1971 Documentary film Aphrodisiac: The Sexual Secret of Marijuana is a dramatization of the benefits of smoking marijuana. It chronicles how smoking pot improved the sex lives of many couples and the film also presents the medicinal benefits of marijuana.
- This dialog in Caddyshack:
Ty: You take drugs, Danny?Danny: Every day.Ty: Good. Then what's your problem?Danny: I don't know.
- Subverted in The Wolf of Wall Street. Jordan Belfort claims that drugs are totally awesome, and takes multiple pills and lines of different types a day. It's clear however that he's a just a common addict, and it even aids his own undoing when he's literally too drugged out to do any effective damage control once the authorities start investigating his illegal operations.
- It's very difficult to believe that The Faculty didn't promote a message like this. There are loads of things that can be a monstrous alien's downfall from Applied Phlebotinum to Weaksauce Weakness, but what absolutely kills the vicious aliens that harbor goals of assimilation and replacement? Narcotics! Yep. Cleverly disguised as writing pens so you can use the drugs in class. What is the surefire way to tell that your friend hasn't been infected with an alien parasite in this movie? Why see if they can use drugs without dying of course.
- The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is Tom Wolfe's account of Ken Kesey and his bus full of hippies going on a road trip across America, dropping acid and enjoying themselves. (Well, mostly.)
- Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom: Since addiction is easily cured and health consequences don't mean much to immortals, there are casual in-passing references to the main character's girlfriend smoking crack.
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: The epic, Very Loosely Based on a True Story tale of Hunter S. Thompson's drug-fueled adventures in Las Vegas. The preface quotes Samuel Johnson: "He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man." The book is about Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo (Thompson's avatars for himself and Oscar Acosta) indulging in copious amounts of drugs in order to escape the decline of American culture and the failure of the counterculture movement.
(first line) "We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold..."
- Could be read both ways. Thompson brutally mocks police efforts to come to grips with drug culture and the War on Drugs, but Duke and Dr. Gonzo cross the line so many times that it's a miracle they both escape Las Vegas. Lampshaded by Duke, who notes they've gone to such excess that no one could possibly believe it.
- Iain M Bank's The Culture novels have all narcotics and recreational drugs available to the entire population. Since, in that setting, you can sober up instantly if you have to and all medical problems are pretty much instantly curable too, they are just another fun way to pass the day.
- The Lord of the Rings speaks about smoking pipe-weed (presumably, the our world equivalent is Nicotiana rustica, a.k.a. mopacho tobacco, but other theories abound) and drinking ale as good things. Elves don't smoke and prefer wine but they also brew cordials that save you in the middle of a blizzard.
- The Count of Monte Cristo talks about the delights of hashish, and claims he uses it to sleep at will. At the end he uses it to heighten Maximilian's suicidal depression, before revealing that Valentine was still alive, so as to give Maximilian an understanding of his own happiness.
- H.P. Lovecraft had hashish as a helpful adjunct to exploring the Dreamlands in the short story "Celephais".
- Lord Dunsany may have inspired Lovecraft with his story "The Hashish Man", where a man tells the narrator of "Bethmoora" that he's been there too, by taking hashish.
- In John Crowley's magic-realism novel Little, Big, George Mouse owns a huge crumbling old New York townhouse with a basement full of commercially packaged hashish bars. The building had once housed a Lebanese grocery, at a time when hashish was sold legally and openly as penny candy.
- The main characters in Eden Green smoke marijuana to calm themselves in several situations, especially after infection with an alien needle symbiote. The title character also uses heroin (or rather, has it administered to her) to deal with the agony. By contrast, the main character in sequel New Night is a former police officer who personally doesn't approve of drugs, but tolerates his best friend's stoner tendencies. (The author is pro-marijuana and sometimes uses psychedelics.)
- Mad Men has multiple examples of this. Peggy Olson lights up a joint more than once and always enjoys herself. Roger Sterling takes LSD, loves it, and tries to get his friends to do it too. (On the other hand, the series has always taken a dark view of alcohol abuse.)
- Season 1 provides a meta example, as Don is trying to come up with an advertising campaign for Lucky Strike cigarettes.
- Workaholics: The show is full of drug use, and while the guys mostly just drink and smoke weed, they also take shrooms, and drop acid. They shy away from harder drugs (Adam says they're not his cup of tea), and Blake denounces huffing nitrous as 'hippy crack'. While the guys themselves are presented as losers, it doesn't have that much to do with their substance problems.
- Spaced: Recreational drug use is a) rather prominent and b) not a big deal.
- The L Word: Most of the cast is shown using some form of marijuana at various points, and Shane even dabbles in harder drugs, to no ill effect.
- Fringe: Various cases are solved with the assistance of narcotics, Olivia Dunham spends much of the pilot on homemade LSD in a sensory deprivation tank, Walter is constantly using psychotropics (on himself and others), and one of his former test subjects, while decidedly loopy as a result of her LSD-induced trances, is entirely happy and expresses her gratitude to Walter years later - with a kiss.
- Walter uses a bong, which is still pretty rare on American network television. And Episode 3x19 is called "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide". That's LSD, kids. Astrid is the only member of the central cast who hasn't been under the influence of drugs onscreen at some point.
- Episode 1-4 of Chappelle's Show featured a parody of the TRUTH.com anti-smoking PSAs ("TRUF.com") in which the announcer says that cigarette smoking causes "feelings of euphoria, increased alertness, rises in short-term memory, and can have a calming effect on nerves."
Dave: And they're not bad after unprotected sex with multiple partners, neither.
- Bored to Death: It's probably easier to count the number of episodes in which the main characters are not smoking pot. Sometimes the character may become an Erudite Stoner while under the influence.
Jonathan: I still like the way pot makes me think - maybe it's healthy.Suzanne: Pot is not healthy.Jonathan: They give it to cancer patients.Suzanne: You don't have cancer.Jonathan: Not yet...
- The cops of Brooklyn Nine-Nine bust a drug dealer named Joe. Joe admits that he's guilty, but takes exception to being called a drug pusher.
Joe: Dude, drugs don't need pushing. They push themselves. People love drugs.
- Sex and the City: The girls often smoke pot and none of them resemble the unglamorous example of a marijuana smoker.
Samantha: I've done the girl thing - once, twice, usually involved a guy and a couple of Quaaludes. It was nice really, and really nice for the guy.
- In "Defining Moments", Samantha fondly recalls having two girl, one guy threesomes on Quaaludes:
- Barney Miller had the detectives unintentionally ingesting hash baked into brownies by Wojo's girlfriend. It's played as cute and funny, and in Fish's case positively beneficial.
Fish. The first time in twenty years I felt really good — and it has to be illegal!
- Viceland's cooking show Bong Appétit is a documentary-style cooking show that celebrates the joy of marijuana and showing all the various ways food and weed combine. Some of the guest chefs who don't smoke weed have found it fascinating that they could combine various marijuana products into their dishes.
- Law & Order, of all shows, plays this straight during Van Buren's cancer storyline. She initially refuses to use medical marijuana as she's aware of how professionally disastrous it would be for her if discovered. Then the Chief of Detectives, a cancer survivor himself, stops by to encourage her to use it, and says he'll look the other way as long as she's discreet.
- The first episode of The Path shows ceremonial use of ayahuasca by Meyerist believers, led by a Peruvian shaman. Throughout the series, it's shown to be helpful and healing. Marijuana is used as a meditation aid or just to relax. These drugs are considered so beneficial that one of our first hints that Cal Roberts should not be Meyerism's new leader is that he wants to stop their use, just to make Meyerism look better to outsiders and recruit more followers.
- FIDLAR, full stop. The lyrical basis of their entire discography is partying, taking drugs, drinking, partying, smoking weed, skating, partying, and generally not giving a fuck about anything. It's presented in a very upbeat, carefree manner in their various demos, EP's, and on their self-titled debut. For example, the music video for a song from their EP 'Shit We Recorded In Our Bedroom' is composed entirely of edited-together anti-drug PSA's, presented humorously in contrast to the song's lyrical content. Partially subverted on their second album Too, which chronicles frontman Zac Carper's journey to sobriety following the release of their first album.
- Replace all instances of the word "chocolate" with "marijuana" in The 1975's "Chocolate", and it makes incredible sense.
- Most of Hawkwind's output. Motorhead is about doing speed. Famously, its author and lead singer Lemmy Kilminster was later thrown out of the band for doing too much of it and took the song with him. Hashcake 77 is an instrumental which manages to convey the way it feels when doing dope. You can feel righteously stoned just listening to it.
- Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" about a young girl who chases a rabbit one day and gets experimental with things that make her larger and smaller, whilst encountering caterpillars smoking hookahs and self-willed chess pieces and a talking dormouse. Hmmm. (It's a Whole Plot Reference to Alice in Wonderland).
"FEED YOUR HEAD, FEED YOUR HEAD"
- The Moody Blues recorded Legend of a Mind, a paean of praise to American drugs pioneer psychologist Dr Timothy Leary, who (along with some other psychiatrists at the time) advocated that LSD could be used under controlled medical supervision to heal many forms of mental illness. Leary was repeatedly jailed by the US authorities for his beliefs and made persona non grata in American academia. His record album The Psychedelic Experience is designed to be listened to during a Higher Understanding Through Drugs LSD session, what used to be called "mind tripping".
- Very common in Reggae, since the genre is practically inseparable from the Rastafari religion, which encourages the use of marijuana to aid meditation.
- Peter Tosh was particularly blatant about it. His first solo album, titled Legalize It, had a cover photo of Tosh sitting in a field full of weed, smoking a pipe. The title track is a long list of reasons why ganja is awesome, set to music.
Legalize it, and I will advertise it.
- The Shamen's Ebeneezer Goode. The chorus goes "'Eezer Goode! 'Eezer Goode! He's Ebeneezer Goode!" Now think of it phonetically. Es are good! Es are good!
- Brandy Clark's "Get High" tells of how smoking pot helps a woman get by.
- The Sons of Champlin's "Get High", initially released on the Loosen Up Naturally album in 1969, advises the listener that tripping alone helps you understand your true inner nature.
- "Drugs Are Good" by NOFX is a partial subversion, because though it repeatedly claims "Drugs Are Good" the reasons its give seem, in many places, to actually be reasons why Drugs Are Bad. Notable, because NOFX is generally very pro-drugs (but also very pro-Self-Deprecating Humor).
Drugs are goodThey make you do things that you know you not shouldAnd when you do 'em people think that you're coolAnd when you do 'em people think that you're cool
- Stewie & Brian Griffin's "A Bag Of Weed".
- Granny won't you smoke some, Granny won't you smoke some...
- In "Downtown" by Lady Antebellum, the main protagonist and her significant other smoke pot as a part of their quality time:
"We used to smoke while we were jaywalking like it was your birthday every other Saturday night"
- "Weed Instead Roses" by Ashley Monroe raves about marijuana being great as a sex drug.
- Black Sabbath's "Sweet Leaf" is a pro-marijuana song, and opens with a loop of Tommy Iommi coughing immediately after taking a hit. "Snowblind" is a pro-cocaine song.
- Smoke A Little Smoke" by Eric Church.
- Marijuana" and "Bass Strings" by Country Joe and the Fish.
- A good number of songs by sludge metal supergroup Down are about the joys of pot smoking. A possible subversion, since quite a few of them amount to "I'm a loser, so I'll smoke pot to bring just a little bit of joy into my life."
- Tom Lehrer's "The Old Dope Peddler", from his debut album Songs by Tom Lehrer, is a sentimental tribute to a neighborhood drug dealer who "do(es) well by doing good." The trope is played for laughs and shock value, the latter especially since it was recorded early in The '50s. It was a satire of the 1946 tune "The Old Lamp Lighter".
- Ambiguous Syntax: Cindy Margolis sings about having sex on cocaine in "Sexy Soda Pop".
- "Rails" by David Allan Coe.
- "Smokin' and Drinkin'" by Miranda Lambert is a pot smoking song.
- The Orange County Rolling Acres Senior Center Cannabis Club by Roy Zimmerman is all about how the residents of the titular senior center have a lot more fun with life thanks to having access to marijuana.
- "White Horse" by Laid Back is pro-cocaine but anti-heroin.
- And let's not forget The Beatles and their amazing technicolor output. Tomorrow Never Knows (lyrics adapted from Leary's The Psychedelic Experience), "Strawberry Fields Forever", "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", "She Said, She Said", "I Am The Walrus", "Norwegian Wood", "Got To Get You Into My Life" and on and on.
- "The Hanukkah Song" by Adam Sandler presents smoking pot as a great way for Jewish people to celebrate Hanukkah in this verse:
So drink your gin-and-tonic-ah, and smoke your marijuanic-ahIf you really, really wanna-kah, have a happy, happy, happy, happyHanukkah, happy Hanukkah
- Neil Young is (or was) a well-known stoner. His song "Flying on the Ground is Wrong" is about pot. In one of his acoustic concert monologues he gives the recipe for honeyslides, which he used to make his voice deeper for songs like "Motion Pictures". For years he smoked joints as if they were regular cigarettes. He quit, or cut way back, in 2011 after doctors detected pre-dementia changes in his brain.note He says "The straighter I am, the more alert I am, the less I know myself and the harder it is to recognise myself," so he looks everywhere for grounding. He still put out an album called Psychedelic Pill though. And of course he spent years working with David Crosby, well known in the Los Angeles area for having (and selling) extremely powerful grass.
- Despite being a former drug user for much of his career, Bill Hicks was a big believer in this. He stated in his act that he believed marijuana use should be not just legal but mandatory, and he also advocated liberal use of psychedelics.
- George Carlin credited mescaline, marijuana, and LSD for their positive effects on his life. Averted with opiates and cocaine, though, which he condemned for the damage they did to his health and wallet.
The first time I tried cocaine, I felt like a new man! ... And the first thing this new man wanted — was more cocaine!
- Denis Leary gave up every drug except his two favorites: beer and cigarettes (numm numm numm numm), with the occasional coffee on weekends. He brags that he smokes 7,000 packs a day, and will use his eventual tracheotomy to smoke two cigarettes at once (numm numm numm numm), and will rename himself Tracheotomy Man.
- Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution: With a few notable exceptions, drugs either have positive effects on espers or at least have benefits that outweigh the costs.
- The Zodiac Order also has this outlook on drugs in general.
- Breaks in the book's text often have little pictures of pills in them.
- Tomorrow's Starlight details a character experiencing a very pleasant trip at a concert and most of the characters use drugs and alcohol frequently.
- In The Consuming Shadow, syringes of an unidentified "recreational narcotic" are your Bulwark Against the Terror; the one non-random event thing that can restore your Sanity Meter. Though it is a bit downplayed in that it is only a temporary boost, and using it too often reduces its effectiveness. It's a good idea to save a dose for your confrontation with whatever Eldritch Abomination is trying to eat the world this playthrough.
- In the hilarious Translation Train Wreck Pokémon Vietnamese Crystal, "Drugs" (aka Potions) heal a Pokémon's lost hit points.
- Among the Chosen: Hardcore stimulants are used often and explicitly. It is implied that the Addicaine commanders have the option of using heavy duty combat drugs to bring their troops up to battle ready status.
- Persona 2 Win: The main character constantly takes unidentified pills when he is angered (which is a lot) too keep himself from killing the idiots around him.
- Kinda-sorta in the case of Gamzee from Homestuck. If he isn't stoned off his gourd, he remembers that he's a descendant of the subjuggulators. And bad things happen.
- Being a parody and satire of Chick Tracts, the strip Chemical Salvation? naturally uses this trope, arguing that LSD has numerous medical uses as well as allowing spiritual awakening, and glosses over any negative side-effects. It even suggests that conservative Christians worldwide conspired to prohibit the drug on trumped-up charges so that the general public wouldnt find out that religious experiences have a purely natural cause, thereby discrediting religion.
- Erowid, which is intended to be a neutral reference cataloging drugs and their effects, has a lot of Drugs Are Bad ("Addiction," "Difficult Experiences," "Train Wrecks and Trip Disasters") but also has its share of Drugs Are Good ("Glowing Experiences" and "Health" have stories like this).
- Quaaludebottle.com, has "Quaalude Stories" in which Baby Boomers and first wave Gen Xers fondly recall getting high on ludes during the seventies and early eighties.