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They'll try to push drugs that keep us all dumbed down
And hope that we will never see the truth around
Muse, "Uprising"

In many Dystopian settings, The Government forces everyone to take psychoactive drugs. Maybe it's to keep them peaceful and non-aggressive so they don't hurt each other (or more cynically, to keep them too mellow and torpid to have the energy and desire to revolt). Maybe it's birth control pills to keep the population in check. Maybe it's outright Mind Control. Maybe it's Super Serum to keep their Super Soldiers, well, super. But those who refuse to take the drugs are put into prison, or worse. Or perhaps it's just strongly encouraged to take the drugs, with only outright troublemakers forced to take the drugs whether they like it or not.

Not to be confused with Everybody Must Get Stoned, which is simply the group version of the Mushroom Samba. Closely related to May Contain Evil, but in this case, it's The Government and not merely a corporation spreading drugs around. See also False Utopia. Contrast High Times Future.


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    Fan Fiction 
  • All The Best tunes?, a Good Omens fic by A.A. Pessimal in which the angel and the demon seek to spread the word through rock and pop music, had to be taken down from FFN as it contravened the "no real people" rule. Not being able to work out how to do it without referring to real people, the story was migrated to A03. A sub-plot (in a tale where the association of rock music and mind-enhancing substances is freely referred to) deals with Pestilence making one last disease before retiring; he, his successor Pollution, and War conspire in the most effective way to introduce AIDS to the world. War points out that if everyone thinks the US Gov't created it in a lab somewhere and are wantonly dumping it in various countries around the world, it will enhance the levels of suspicion and mutual hatred sloshing around, in a way most suited to her purposes. Crowley is suitably appalled.
  • In A.A. Pessimal's Discworld fics:
    • The Assassins' Guild School makes it compulsory for students in the last years of training on the Black to take drugs. There is a dark reasoning behind this. Trainee Assassins are made to take intense training under the influence of stimulant drugs so that they can recognise, under safe supervision, that while amphetamines can coax new reserves of strength and alertness out of a body, they can also affect the mind — often in ways that encourage the primal Assassin failing of overconfidence. Then, as the Guild intends, the subject has the awful experience of coming down afterwards. Thus, acting as a deterrent to going out and doing it again. After the experience of two graduates whilst touring Klatch, the Guild is now trialling the exposure of selected students to bhong. again this is designed to point out to the Assassin that stealthily entering the client's bedroom at night and forgetting why you came in, or else aborting a mission to detour to the client's kitchen to answer a craving for munchies, or else sitting down to groove and giggle at the interesting play of light and shadow on the blade of your killing knife, is not a bright thing to do on a mission and explains why the Hashishim of Klatch aren't as invincible as they think they are. With a more socially available drug — alcohol — the housemistress of a residential girls' House does not apply censure when a teenage girl gets drunk. She accepts that teenage girls will do this, and you're back, so no harm done... the next morning she ensures the girl involved gets the greasiest possible fried breakfast, at a time when she feels most fragile and delicate. Then stands behind her and insists she eats it all as it's good for her. Just to make the point.
    • The Guild has now cottoned on to Total Sensory Deprivation as a training aid. Students who annoy Miss Glynnie, normally a very well-adjusted Music teacher, are vectored to The Tank where, deprived as far is as possible of all five senses, they learn to face the worst enemy of all: themselves.
  • Empath: The Luckiest Smurf: Empath mentions in "Smurfnip Madness" that all Psyches in Psychelia are required to take a drug called psychelium, which inhibits their ability to express emotions. The drug is mentioned again in "The Rise And Fall Of Smurfy Tower" as Polaris Psyche wishes he could have the drug to numb the pain he was feeling while Empath was in a coma.

  • The 15:17 to Paris: What Spencer and Alek's mothers see the public school teacher's recommendation of ADD medication as. In their minds, it's just a way of repressing a problem rather than really dealing with it. Granted, the reaction was pretty justified, as this is the counselor's instant solution for what's mild behavior that doesn't even strongly indicate they've got ADD (none show any signs of it later).
  • In Absolon, taking place in a future dystopia where survivors of a deadly, global plague require ongoing drug treatments to survive it, people are paid in units of the medicine, which is measured in hours, meaning one's income is quite literally how long a person has left to live.
  • Children of Men: Numerous advertisements are seen for 'Quietus', which is either available on demand or is actually issued together with each citizen's anti-depressant ration. The instructions assure the would-be user that not only is it quick and painless, but no-one has survived taking it.
  • Dr. Strangelove: Yes, some nutjobs actually thought fluoridated water was this trope, a communist plot to pollute our precious bodily fluids.
  • Equilibrium: Prozium injections suppress emotions. The injections are in tiny vials shaped like bullets, and injected with a device that looks like a gun, directly into the neck, just in case we didn't get that it was a form of metaphorical suicide of the self.
  • In Freddy vs. Jason, all of the teenagers in Springwood take hypnocil whether they know it or not. This is meant to keep them from dreaming so that Freddy cannot attack them. Unfortunately, Jason is also along for the ride.
  • The Girl From Monday: The Triple M government now mandates that all school children be drugged with anti-anxiety medication.
  • Panther: The hoary old conspiracy theory that the U.S. government secretly invented crack and encouraged gangsters to sell drugs in the Black ghettoes to keep Blacks down is presented as fact.
  • In Pumzi, the Maitu council forces its citizens to take dream-suppressing pills in order to discourage free thought and creativity.
  • In Repo! The Genetic Opera, the MegaCorp GeneCo (which is the closest thing to a government the setting represents) produces the highly addictive and euphoric painkiller Zydrate, which it uses in all of its surgical operations. Since the vast majority of the population will require at least one organ transplant, a huge majority are addicted to Zydrate, and the fact that most of the rest become addicted to surgery means that Zydrate is in high demand so that surgeries can be engaged in casually. GeneCo's monopoly on Zydrate and synthetic organs is thus vital to its controlling the populace (preventing anyone from questioning their repossession policies), and attempts to illegally acquire Zydrate from corpses are usually met with lethal force. Zydrate addiction recovery programs are also under GeneCo's control. It is also likely that post-surgery addiction to the (expensive) Zydrate is the reason that so many miss their organ payments.
  • Serenity (2005): The Alliance dispersed G-23 Paxilon Hydrochlorate, a drug designed to reduce aggression, into the atmosphere of the planet Miranda. 99.9 percent of the population became so docile that they lay down and let themselves starve to death, and one tenth of a percent become the maniacal, cannibalistic Reavers. Oops.
  • Starship Troopers: Future soldiers in an endless Bug War are allowed otherwise-illegal drugs, including time-released cocaine, to keep them awake and alert during prolonged engagements.
  • Star Trek: Insurrection features the alien Son'a, who want to take over a peaceful planet in order to use its naturally occurring radiation as a mandatory life-extending drug for their own population.
  • THX 1138 had the populace kept under control with sedatives, to prevent them from having sex, or otherwise acting in unapproved ways.
  • In Wild in the Streets, the first president in his twenties forces everyone over 35 into concentration camps to take LSD.

  • In Across the Universe (Beth Revis), the leader of the Generation Ship Godspeed has drugs put into the water supply to keep the crew happy and docile. There are also drugs pumped into the water supply at scheduled intervals to make the people on Godspeed feel the intense desire to have sex. These intervals are called "Seasons", and used as a method of keeping the population in neat generations.
  • In After Doomsday, one captain does a downplayed, and reasonable, version of this: when her ship returns to the Solar System to find the Earth destroyed, she orders that everyone on board take a tranquilizer.
  • In The Awakening Water, the water supply is spiked with an unspecified drug to keep people (or at least workers) docile and stupid.
  • Battlefield Earth: The evil alien Psychlos are being manipulated by the even more evil Catrists through brain surgery and mind control drugs, to prevent them from allowing advanced technology from falling into the hands of less-advanced species.
  • In Piers Anthony's Bio of a Space Tyrant: Executive, the eponymous Space Tyrant puts birth control in the drinking water, and demands any country that receives foreign aid do the same. He also allows euthanasia pills to the suicidal.
  • Brave New World: Soma, a euphoric drug that keeps everyone happy, no matter how awful or boring their life becomes. Plus, all non-sterilized women must take birth control drugs to ensure that all children are born in government-run in-vitro baby farms. Finally, the lower castes are given alcohol while still in-vitro to make them physically and mentally challenged, so they accept their low-level menial tasks as merely their proper lot in life.
  • In Count to the Eschaton, the Nymphs used vast amounts of drugs to erase unpleasant memories and otherwise ensure that life ran smoothly in a culture of Extreme Omnisexuals and hedonists. While it was enforced by the Nymph Queens — those who resisted were sent into cryogenic sleep to await an age more palatable to them, or if necessary, killed — it was also accepted by the Nymphs. Soldiers would drink it to prevent the memory of battles disturbing their peace.
  • In the short story "The Cull" by Robert Reed, humanity has been driven into overcrowded, deteriorating habitats where the population has to be kept artificially happy via implants so they won't notice how bad their conditions are. The implants don't work on some people, so the android doctor expels (culls) anyone who is too disruptive. One delinquent teenager prepares for his cull by stealing items he can use to survive outside. Instead, once they're outside, the android kills the teenager — it needs the implants inside his head, as there's no more being manufactured.
  • In the Dreamblood Duology, the Hetawa — the temple, which essentially rules the city-state of Gujaareh — gets everyone rich and powerful in the city addicted to drugs, then uses addiction to control them or extort them.
  • The Forever War:
    • Future soldiers in an endless war are allowed otherwise-illegal drugs to keep them awake and alert for long periods of time.
    • A much better example from the same book is when the main character visits his mother early in the war (roughly 30 years has passed since he left due to relativistic effects.) His brother, who lives on Luna, tells him not to smoke his mother's pot ration, because Earth pot is drugged.
  • The Reveal of The Futurological Congress by Stanisław Lem is that a conspiracy of scientists is pumping colossal amounts of hallucinogens into the atmosphere so that humanity doesn't realize how utterly, utterly awful reality is... Then another Reveal is that even that was a hallucination.
  • In Girls with Sharp Sticks, each of the students at the Boarding School of Horrors where the book takes place is given pills before they go to bed, which turn out to contain nanomachines that control their minds.
  • The Giver Quartet:
    • In The Giver, aside from the usual birth control pills, people are given painkillers for every little hurt, to keep them from feeling even that most basic of emotions, pain. The mandatory pills also remove "stirrings," or sexual desire. Jonas is put on the pills soon after he has his first Erotic Dream about Fiona, a female friend, showing us the first signs of just how messed up a Dystopia we're dealing with here.
    • The sequel Son shows that recreational drugs are unknown in the Community. Claire sees a man on a boat from another Community smoking a cigarette (or an e-cig) and assumes it is some sort of medical inhaler.
  • In the Green-Sky Trilogy, the Wissenberry is considered sacred and given out freely among the Kindar population to abate any kind of physical or "mind" pain. Teachers even pass them out in school to keep the children calm and compliant. (Snyder was a teacher, and the school system drugging unruly students is Older Than They Think). Raamo's eight-year-old sister is "wasting" to death due to her addiction to the Berries. Widespread addiction in the population is also cited as one of the symptoms of the society itself being ill. To a lesser extent, birth control wafers are passed out among Kindar from the ages of 13-25 so that the youth can ostensibly concentrate on their apprenticeships. Ol-Zhaan, however, are forbidden families of their own.
  • Gun, with Occasional Music tells us about a world where the population takes a variety of state-supplied drugs like Forgetol, Acceptol and Regretol (collectively called "Make") to get them through the day. Originally, there were many different varieties of drugs that produced pleasurable effects, which individuals could blend as they wanted. Their use was optional, not mandatory. After six years in cryogenic sleep, the protagonist wakes up to a world in which the government mandated the use of a single drug, which dulled the mind and disrupted memory.
  • In the Honor Harrington universe, the evil corporation Manpower, Inc. uses a combination of genetic engineering and powerful medication to control a population of "genetic slaves" to do manual labor, serve as Super Soldiers, and act as sex slaves. Also, it's heavily hinted that Haven used drugs in the drinking water and food supply to keep a lid on rebellious proles in their welfare state gone wild. In a slightly more benevolent mode, it's a given that all the militaries which have men and women serving in the same units require them to be on contraceptives while on active duty. This is also apparently the policy regarding prisoners of war, explicitly stated as being the practice on the Havenite prison planet Hell, where the food was laced with them.
  • House of the Scorpion: Clones, in order for the general populace to be able to accept their status as nonhuman, must be given drugs at birth to stunt their intelligence. The protagonist Matt is an exception to the rule.
  • Illuminatus!:
    • The Disciples of the Black God traffic heroin to keep the ghettos from becoming riot hotspots. What motive they (as a black militant, Afrocentric, anti-government group) have in this, isn't exactly explained.
    • Also inverted: at one point it's explained that the Illuminati has an experimental program going on to keep main population dull and bored — the manager in charge of the project (F.D. Roosevelt!) explains how they remain immune because they're allowed access to Weishaupt's wonder herb, namely cannabis.
  • In the early period of Larry Niven's Known Space, when birth control is mandatory, anti-paranoid drugs are mandatory for those diagnosed with it, and by the time of the first Man-Kzin War, thinking of a violent act is a psychological disorder (treated by drugs). In later works (Beowulf Schaefer/Louis Wu era), the cops are taking drugs to cause paranoia!
  • In Matched, every person carries around a case with 3 pills in it. The green pill is like a mild antidepressant, and the red pill wipes your memory of the past two days.
  • Mistborn: The Original Trilogy has a fantastic variant with the Soothing stations. These are secret government bases scattered throughout the slums, each containing two or three Ministry Mistings whose only duty is to emit a 24/7 magical field that dampens the emotions of everyone nearby. These are a major element of the system that keeps the skaa from ever revolting.
  • This Perfect Day: Mandatory treatments keep everyone peaceful, helpful, and kind... and suppress the sex drive and other emotions, as well as preventing unapproved pregnancies.
  • In the science fiction story "Toe to Tip, Tip to Toe, Pip-Pop as You Go" by William F. Nolan, the government keeps everyone in perpetual drugged states and the "deviants" are straight.
  • To the Stars: In Homeworld, the upper-class protagonist is initially surprised at the idea that the proles might be rebellious, as the government lets them have all the drugs and booze they want.
  • In "Welcome to the Monkey House" by Kurt Vonnegut, everyone takes something that numbs the groin area and prevents having sex for pleasure in order to keep the population down. The title comes from the fact that the drug was invented by a zoo veterinarian who was also a devout Christian upset by the monkeys having sex unabashedly in full view of everyone, so it was first used to cut that nonsense out.
  • The short story "Who's Gonna Rock Us Home" by Nancy Springer has the mandatory drug Cope, which induces memory loss to prevent the mind-numbing drudgery of daily life from depressing people.
  • In "A World Called Maanerek", the Hegemony uses this freely on "units".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5: The government and Psi Corps required that any telepath who refused to join the Corps and accept Corps discipline must take drugs to suppress their telepathic abilities. Unsurprisingly, this is worse than it sounds. The drugs also make you suicidally depressed, which is what happened to Ivanova's mother.
  • Blake's 7:
    • In "The Way Back", the Federation's food and water supplies are laced with "emotional suppressants". The rebel approaching Blake insists he eat or drink nothing for three days to get them out of his system.
    • The Scam Religion on Cygnus Alpha uses a fake medicine against a supposed horrific plague (actually a minor environmental poison that cleared itself within days) in place of communion wafers, to keep the cultists in line.
    • In "Shadow", the President of the Terran Federation has denounced the titular illegal drug as a threat to all humanity. Turns out it's being harvested on a planet protected by his personal security force. By controlling the drug trade, the Federation dominates both the legal and illegal parts of society.
    • In Season 4, the Federation is able to reconquer their Vestigial Empire thanks to a drug called Pylene-50 that blocks the production of adrenaline. "Warlord" opens with a shocking scene where drugged citizens move listlessly on elevators while Canned Orders over Loudspeaker tells them, "You are cared for. You are loved." The voice continues even when the Federation soldiers get bored and start gunning down people for kicks.
  • Brave New World: New Londoners have all been conditioned to use the euphoric drug Soma whenever they feel unhappy or upset.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Initiative, an undercover demon hunting operation bent on creating Mix-and-Match Critters of demon/human/cybernetic parts, secretly feeds its very human agents with performance enhancing drugs. Expect usual withdrawal symptoms.
  • The Prisoner (1967): At any given moment in the Village, the water, the food, and even the air may be spiked to make you more comfortable. Constant drugging is all part of being in the Village.
  • In the alternate world the protagonists visit in the Sliders episode "Just Say Yes", the U.S. government mandates drug use, and the alternate Quinn Mallory is a leader of the anti-drug resistance. The reason for this was Sigmund Freud accidentally discovering the pharmaceutical properties of lithium, which he so enjoyed that he became a biochemist instead of a psychologist. All people (in the US, at least) have implants in their arms that allow for direct intravenous injections without risk of infection. Using syringes is seen as barbaric. The police make sure everyone stays tranquil and happy. If someone acts out, they shoot them... with a narcotic dart. One trailer for the episode had a memorable tagline: "the government regulates drugs... by getting everyone hooked on them!"
  • Stargate SG-1 has a few examples and variants:
    • The Jaffa are kept dependent on the Goa'uld, because they need a larval symbiote to survive past adolescence. Having a symbiote doesn't exactly keep them docile, but it does cause serious logistics problems for rebel Jaffa.
    • The government of Pangar doesn't force its citizens to take tretonin, but once someone's taken this cure-all wonder drug, they have to keep taking it every day. And the government is far from happy about being told to stop making and distributing it.
    • The Aschen Confederacy sneaks birth control (at a minimum) into the vaccines it provides to newly joined worlds.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Jem'Hadar are kept under control by the Founders with their genetic addiction to Ketracel White, sort of a combination narcotic and nutrient supplement.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • In "Encounter at Farpoint", Q mentions that, during the late-21st century wars of WWIII and its aftermath, human super soldiers were constantly hopped up on narcotics to give them endurance, strength, and artificial courage bordering on insanity.
    • In "Symbiosis", Planet A helps Planet B overcome a plague by selling them medicine... medicine which is also a highly addictive drug. When the plague is long gone, Planet A doesn't tell Planet B, so they will keep buying and using the drug, even though it's bankrupting their society.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In the episode "Number 12 Looks Just Like You", this is combined with not-officially-compulsory-but-strongly-encouraged plastic surgery.

  • BL/ind Thought Adjustment Test: "I'm so happy to be alive. Everything is going to be fine. Have I taken my medication today?"
  • Emergency Broadcast Network's "Comply" states: "The CIA is ordering the White House to conduct broadcast TV radiation LSD experiments on Americans."
  • Dead Kennedys "Kinky Sex Makes the World Go Round":
    Now don't worry about demonstrations — just pump up your drug supply.
    So many people have hooked themselves on heroin
    and amphetamines since we took over, it's just like Vietnam.
    We had everybody so busy with LSD they never got too strong.
  • System of a Down's "Prison System" from Toxicity focuses on how the government turns a blind eye toward drug use (such as with famous people) unless it suits their interests, when they have to make an example for the populace. The implication, of course, is that the government encourages the growth of the prison system by filling it with drug addicts and other people who are denounced by contemporary society.
  • "Uprising" by Muse:
    They'll try to push drugs that keep us all dumbed down
    And hope that we will never see the truth around.
  • Year Zero by Nine Inch Nails includes lyrics about The Government forcing everyone to take drugs to keep the populace quiet and happy. The very first site released as part of the Year Zero Alternate Reality Game, I Am Trying To Believe, goes into detail about the drug Parecin, claimed to be put into the water supply to combat bioterrorism after an attack on the US, but actually intended to keep the populace complacent. This is at the expense of lower birth rates due to impotence, making laxatives the number one over the counter drug in the country, constant involuntary muscle twitching, and causing complacent deep enough to negatively impact Super Bowl sales. If you email the site owner about it, you'll find that he's been convinced by the government to drink the water again.

  • The audio skit "Le Trente-Huit Cunegonde" by The Firesign Theatre features an inverted version of 1960s society where the hippies are in charge and instead of being illegal, smoking pot is mandatory.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Despite the WWE's "Wellness Policy", many people believe that Vince McMahon "encourages" his wrestlers to take steroids (and by "encourage" we mean "threaten with being wished well in their future endeavors"). Not helping: The fact that Vince himself has admitted to taking steroids. ...and the whole Chris Benoit thing.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Aberrant, all novas (people with superpowers) who join Project Utopia, the setting's resident official Good-aligned Mutant Draft Board are secretly fed sterility drugs along with the drugs given to help them control their powers, in order to prevent the breeding of a superpowered race that might replace baseline humanity.
  • A fantasy-world version appears in the early Dungeons & Dragons adventure "B4: The Lost City", in which the corrupt priests of Zargon have gotten most of the population of Cynidecia addicted to an unspecified cocktail of drugs. Presumably this makes it easier to control the masses, and/or to convince them to worship a deity as grotesque as Zargon.
  • In Paranoia, the Computer laces the food supply with hormone suppressants to keep the citizens from breeding (it prefers to clone them). In the supplement Acute Paranoia, the Computer requires all citizens to take a bewildering variety of drugs on a regular basis, which helps explain how messed up Alpha Complex is.
  • Happens from time to time in Warhammer 40,000. Combat Stimulants range from being allowed to encouraged to mandated by law, depending on your regiment. It's mentioned that several of the less pleasant planets and more brutal regimes tend to (subtly or otherwise) drug their citizens to prevent drastic self-inflicted population reductions. The Space Marines don't even count, since 2/3 of their drug programs exist simply to make sure that their genetically modified and cybernetically enhanced bodies don't just go haywire shut down.

    Video Games 
  • No Umbrellas Allowed: In 2079, CARI and AVAC co-developed Fixer 1.0, an emotion-suppressing drug, and mixed it into artificial rain to pour it on the entire population of Mindlesia, believing that it cuts costs on mental health treatment. They also banned umbrellas to force Fixerain upon the citizens. During the events of the game a year later, only Ajik City isn't affected because of an explosion that destroyed most of the organizations' artificial rain tech files and Fixer manufacturing facilities. Some people such as Wonsu wish for Fixerain so they won't have to pay for Emotion Mitigation Treatment and deal with difficult emotions anymore. In reality, it makes the citizens numb to everything going on around them, even the government's own crimes, and strips them of their desires.
  • In Quarantine (1994), Omnicorp traps the population of Kemo City inside and injects a drug called Hydergine 344 into the water supply, in the hopes of calming everyone down and suppress criminal thoughts. The complete opposite takes place, naturally, and the player character has to fight off these victims while also ferrying innocent civilians around town long enough to escape.
  • Since the 1.5 update of Stellaris, you may decide to drug one or more species to the gills, maximizing their happiness but making them pretty much useless for any job. Perfect for a decadent master race relying on its slaves to do the real work! Or for getting rid of some filthy Xenos "humanely".note 
  • Warhammer 40,000: Gladius: The Imperial Guard has access to a number of edicts to temporarily boost the production of a resource in a city. "Breeding Licenses" increases population growth by ordering the services in charge of food and water to stop putting anaphrodisiacs in the water (and encourages Love Hotels).
  • In We Happy Few, the people of Wellington Wells all take a Fantastic Drug called Joy so they can forget about the Very Bad Thing. The sad folks who are immune to Joy, Wastrels, are exiled from the town and forced to fend for themselves in the ruins of the Garden District. As for those who deliberately refuse to take Joy (like the player character, Arthur Hastings), they're Downers, and the good citizens of Wellington Wells don't like Downers...

  • In the "Paradise" storyline of Sluggy Freelance, Riff is sent to 4U City in an Alternate Universe, where everyone is constantly drugged to keep them happy and docile, and hovering robots follow people around and inject them with syringes if they show any signs of unhappiness. This of course turns out to be a last resort method originally employed by that universe' Riff, to keep the city blissfully unaware that they are the only remaining humans on earth, and the entire universe is falling apart due to the damage a recent war has done to the fabric of reality. Crapsack World indeed.

    Western Animation 
  • The "Genetic Enabling Factor" given to the Supertroopers in Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers. The youngest of the 'Troopers (who becomes the show's Lancer) refuses to take his dose. Walsh is about to order Shane to take the stuff, but Nagata proposes using him as a control instead. Shane's refusal to take the drugs may have helped him remain sane when Senator Wheiner dosed the 'troopers with Psycho Serum.
  • In one Futurama episode featuring Blurnsball (a highly modified game of baseball), Prof. Farnsworth reveals that for the past few centuries, professional athletes have been required to take steroids.
  • Rick and Morty: After invading Earth in the season 2 finale, the Galactic Federation forces humanity into a twisted form of wage slavery through giving them "complimentary" pills which actually put them in debt, as is the case with Jerry. In addition, all Earth Federation jobs only pay people in pills and basic resources despite the Federation having its own currency. It's unknown what these pills actually do, but it's implied that they're used to prevent people from questioning the Federation by putting them in a drug-induced state, and it's suggested that this practice had been done towards numerous alien species as well. This continues until Rick destroys the Galactic Federation by rendering its currency worthless.
  • In The Venture Bros., the compound Dr. Venture Senior built was intended to have some calming drugs filtered into the air, so people didn't freak out about the thermonuclear war going on outside. However, the Master Computer disagreed with this plan and decided on the "giving them too much of a good thing" method of punishment, and flooded the compound with a massive quantity of drugs that caused terrifying hallucinations.

    Real Life 
  • Where government-run mental health care is available, the dangerously, clinically, non-functionally insane (true or not) tend to be given drug regimes in the hopes of managing their illness. Since they are insane, their consent (or awareness) about this is moot. Many of them basically live out their entire time on medication, with little to no awareness of what's around.
  • The military examples above are Truth in Television up to a point; aircrew are permitted to take dextroamphetamine in order to maintain their alertness if it's necessary to exceed peacetime limitations on how long they can remain at the controls without rest, as well as tranquilizers to help them come down from the high once their mission is complete. This is strictly voluntary except in the very gravest emergency scenarios, however, and many pilots choose to take their chances with the dangers of fatigue.
  • Old laws actually made it illegal for a person to not take drugs if suffering from things like tuberculosis or syphilis (and in the modern age, AIDS). Threat of high death toll from epidemics usually trumped other concerns.
  • Despite the ban on steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs during the Olympics and such, there are occasional (true or false) accusations of drug use. That top level athletes under government sponsorship (and scrutiny) can get drugs leads some to suspect it was the government themselves (or a suitably plausibly deniable agent) giving the athletes drugs.
  • The CIA thing mentioned up in the music section is best split into a few parts:
    • The CIA definitely did work with a lot of shady people back in the 'we don't care what you do as long as you aren't Communist' days, including some in Latin America who were into cocaine trafficking, most famously the CONTRAs in Nicaragua and the Noriega regime in Panama but quite a few other groups too. To exactly what extent they were directly complicit in that side of the business is unlikely ever to be clear. On the one hand, we know that the CIA didn't have a major problem with just paradropping guns and cash to people they were supporting, but on the flip side, it's hard to imagine that they were providing intelligence on their new friends to customs or the FBI.
    • The other half of that story that probably isn't true is that the CIA were not only directly involved in importing cocaine to the US, but that they were also behind the introduction of crack to US cities. This springs from Senate findings in the late '80s that the CIA had knowingly worked with drug traffickers, causing people to draw their own conclusions as crack arrived on US streets. Some versions say that they were doing so to secretly fund the fight against communism, co-opting the South American drug pipeline and redirecting the profits to things they couldn't do on the books. It's a reasonable(ish) theory, given that the CIA were already assassinating people and God knows what else; the mind boggles at what they couldn't get funding to do. Other versions of the story say that introducing crack was an assault on the urban poor and the black population in particular, but nobody seems to agree on exactly why the CIA would be interested in doing that, although social engineering, mind control, and just keeping the black man down have all been suggested. Perhaps the most logical theory goes that, rightly or not, the CIA saw a politically mobilized black community as being, or at least having the potential to become, a homegrown version of the left-wing militants they went to South America to fight in the first place. It wouldn't be the first time anybody's attempted genocide for fear of their country turning into a war zone. The link between the two may well exist (it's been seriously suggested that a sudden influx of CONTRA cocaine was what fueled the crack epidemic as a result of the CIA giving them a hand), but there is no evidence that the CIA actually had a hand in it.
    • From 1953-1973, the CIA were engaged in a program known as MKULTRA in which experimental psychoactive agents (among other forms of psychological manipulation) were secretly tested on unsuspecting citizens in the hopes of creating a truth serum or a mind control weapon. It was a near-total failure, however (at least, as far as we know), its main effect being the popularization of LSD as a recreational drug; towards the end of the program's life, CIA agents were dosing each other and holding private LSD parties, which resulted in the death of one agent when he threw himself out a window while in a hallucinatory fit.
  • The two Opium Wars (1839-1842, 1856-1860) that the British and French fought with Qing China can be considered as manifestations of this. In the 18th and 19th Century, European and American appetite for Chinese goods grew insatiable, especially for tea, silk, and porcelain, but the Chinese bought almost nothing in return, only taking silver for payment. The constant drain of East India Company silver into China was seriously affecting the company's finances, so the company finally took note of the only major good that southern Chinese traders bought from Malacca (where Indian Muslim traders had shipped it from Bengal) and shipped back to mainland China: opium. Opium was grown domestically in the foothills of the Himalayas, but much like Chinese tobacco, Chinese opium was regarded as inferior and low-class — whether due to soil quality or the breeds imported, nobody knows. 'Luxury-quality' imported opium and tobacco made its way into the Chinese interior via a mindbogglingly complex network of middlemen and smugglers because the Qing government (notorious hedonism-haters) had banned both as soon as they heard about them. When the Qing government tried to crack down on opium (most notably when Lin Zexu, the Governor of the Canton district, confiscated and burned about 1.2 thousand tons of opium without compensation on the beaches of Humen in 1839), the British and French curb-stomped them in two hilariously lop-sided wars to keep the opium trade open, gaining the concession of Hong Kong and Shanghai as ports for off-loading of opium and forcing the Qing to adopt a European-style laissez-faire attitude to all drug use (most European countries not banning domestic recreational drug use until the early-to-mid 20th century). China didn't curb back opium use until the 1950s, five wars and two regime changes later — though the trade had dried up as early as the 1890s as cheap domestic production (chiefly in Sichuan province) made it unprofitable. And as anyone who's been there can tell you, they still love their tobacco.
  • Amusingly, during the Second Sino-Japanese War three Guomindang-aligned warlord-run regional governments ran official provincial drug monopolies and the other five tried to crack down on the trade (or was it the other way around?). This was because the Guomindang had teetered on the edge of total bankruptcy for about two years (1940-42) as the Soviets withdrew their economic and military aid, forcing them to give up most of the taxation, administration, and conscription duties to the provincial warlords in order to cut their spending (this resulting in dramatically increased taxation and corruption). This desperate measure allowed them to survive for a time, but would have resulted in total collapse by the end of 1943 if it weren't for barely-adequate American loans which kept the central government afloat until the war's end.
  • This trope led to at least two epidemic diseases in human history to go extinct. Smallpox used to ravage cities. Now it can only be found in laboratories and in vaccines. Leading to speculation about AIDS having been created in government labs as a replacement for smallpox and nefariously introduced to Africa/bath-houses in San Francisco as a means of eliminating black people/sinful promiscuous gays.
  • A book called Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich was released in German in 2015 and translated into English in 2017, and it details how the government of Nazi Germany used to require their soldiers to take methamphetamines (then called Pervitin). The drugs enabled the Wehrmacht to go days without rest and helped make the Blitzkrieg possible. And if that wasn't enough, Pervitin was sold over the counter and large swaths of Germans were Functional Addicts — the drug was even advertised the same way antidepressants are today. Some physicians and scientists tried to publicize the negative side effects of so much meth, but that information was suppressed. Hitler himself used meth heavily, which may partially explain his foolish choices during the war.
  • Japanese soldiers in WW2 were given meth by their government. It's thought that being permanently strung out is the main factor in the many, many atrocities they committed, notably Nanking.