Follow TV Tropes


Undiscriminating Addict

Go To
Name your poison

"We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, a whole galaxy of multicolored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers... also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of beer, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can."

While most users usually have a drug of choice, in fiction one sometimes encounters a drug user who is completely undiscriminating in their choice of intoxicant. They are so keen (or desperate) to get high, that they will take any substance that offers them a chance to do so. Often Played for Laughs if the substance they are snorting (or smoking, ingesting, imbibing, or injecting) is not a narcotic at all.

A common variant is a drunkard who will drink anything remotely alcoholic to get drunk, even those that aren't meant to be potable.

A frequent victim of the Beat Bag. May lead to I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!, G-Rated Drug, Drunk on Milk.



    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • In the Se7en comic books series, Theodore "Victor" Allen (AKA the future Sloth victim) is a drug dealer who has a habit of Getting High on Their Own Supply, to the point that John Doe can recognize four distinctive signs of long-term addiction just by looking at him: pockmarks from crystal meth, speed-induced deterioration of bone mass, the erosion of nasal cartilage due to cocaine, and the needle scars from heroin use. For good measure, he drinks very heavily while celebrating his acquittal.
  • In Transmetropolitan, Spider Jerusalem, being a future version of Hunter S. Thompson, will take any and all drugs he can get his hands on, especially when he's having a bad day, which is often.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Steve McCroskey in Airplane!, as revealed in a Running Gag (but at least he's trying to quit):
    Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop smoking.
    Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking.
    Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.
    Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop taking amphetamines.
  • A borderline case occurs in The Cannonball Run with Dr. Nikolas Van Helsing. He keeps injecting himself with a syringe whose contents are unknown (to the viewer). When The Alcoholic Jimmy Blake asks him if it's good to drink, Van Helsing replies "Dunno. Never tried" and immediately squirts the contents of the syringe into his mouth.
  • The Con is On: Peter is not only The Alcoholic but a completely undiscriminating drug taker. He buys a tray of random drugs off the dealer in the club; takes whatever pills his wife Harry hands him, usually without asking what they are; and swallows an entire bottle of prescription medication he finds in Gina's pocket.
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Raoul Duke (Hunter S. Thompson's Author Avatar) and his friend "Dr. Gonzo" bring a gigantic valise loaded to the gills with all kinds of drugs for their journey to Vegas, and at one point (while Duke is tripping so hard that he hallucinates Dr. Gonzo slowly mutating into a devil) they argue the idea of testing fresh adrenocortex... as in cut someone's brain to get the gland and chew on it.
  • Heaven Knows What: Harley and her fellow homeless junkies will gulp liquor, sip on Dayquil, do benzos, shoot heroin, and take pretty much anything else they can get their hands on.
  • John Hurt's character in Midnight Express is a heroin addict, but as he's unable to get his hands on the real stuff in a Turkish prison, he's reduced to improvising alternate sources of opioids. In his introductory scene, he's mainlining gastroenteritis medication for the codeine.
  • Naked Lunch kicks off with the discovery that William Lee's drug-addicted wife has started using his bug powder as a substitute drug. Lee himself proves no slouch in this department, beginning with the bug powder, then moving on to "The Black Meat," an opioid powder derived from giant centipedes; then, when Lee's source in the Interzone goes missing, he's forced to move onto a local Moroccan hashish resin spread just to deal with the withdrawal. And then he starts drinking the fluid that emerges from the skull-mounted penises of the alien head that has replaced his typewriter. It's worth noting that this film was loosely based on a book that was written entirely under the influence.
  • In Trainspotting, Renton notes that whilst not on heroin, he and his friends are busy looking for just about anything with similar effects. After going through some of the NHS sources relied upon in lean times, he rattles off a long list of substitute opioids to be used when not in possession of real junk, including things like anti-vertigo medication.
    Renton: Fuck it, we would have injected vitamin C if only they'd made it illegal.


    Live-Action TV 
  • In Euphoria, Rue's addictive personality is so profound that she'll take just about anything that comes in a pill bottle, to the point that after she nearly overdoses on fentanyl in the second episode, her dealer flat-out refuses to sell her any more drugs.
  • The Farscape episode "Throne for a Loss" introduces the Tavleks, a gang of extortionists hooked on a powerful stimulant. After one of them is captured during a botched raid on Moya, Zhaan tries to rehabilitate the guy, and after a while, he almost seems to be responding positively... right up until he trashes one of the DRDs and tries to jerry-rig a substitute drug from its fluid components.
  • In The Good Place, Mindy St. Clair died with a cocaine habit and has spent all of her years in the afterlife pining for it. At one point, she pleads with the main characters to bring her "something I can snort. Eye shadow, crushed up baby aspirin, cocaine...".
  • Sherlock: In "The Lying Detective", it is revealed that when Sherlock Holmes needs to get really high right now he has no preferences, he will just take whatever he can get his hands on (when he's just casually using, he stick to nicotine patches). His brother Mycroft, knowing this fact and having no way to stop him, only asks Sherlock to keep a list of what he takes in case he ever needs medical assistance.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Over the course of "The Wire", Garak is revealed to have been coping with life on the station by means of an anti-torture implant that floods his body with endorphins. However, after two years of continuous use, the implant finally breaks down and Garak is forced to make do with any substitutes he can get his hands on until replacement parts arrive, resulting in him drinking his way through about half of Quark's stock of kanar. After being hospitalized due to a seizure, he steps up his efforts by stealing sedatives from the infirmary — and taking near-fatal doses. In both cases, Garak barely feels anything and makes it clear that this means his body is now terminally dependent on the implant.
  • In Succession, Kendall's lapses back into substance abuse compel him to consume any drug he can, whether that's meth at a house in New Mexico or ketamine at a secret party in New York.
  • Klaus Hargreeves of The Umbrella Academy (2019) is well-known for his habit of abusing drugs of any kind available - partly in order to stave off his visions of the dead but mostly out of sheer hedonism. In his Establishing Character Moment, he's implied to have overdosed on heroin; in a flashback sequence, he's seen rolling joints under the dinner table; he dismisses a healthy breakfast in favor of something he can smoke (which could mean anything from cannabis to crack cocaine - or even meth); Hazel and Cha-Cha steal some hash chocolate from his belongings; he's seen taking pills before Ben stops him... and finally, when none of the others are available, he hits the booze hard.

  • "The Wine Song" by comedian/folk singer Martin Pearson pokes fun at the pretensions of wine connoisseurs and is sung from the perspective of a completely undiscriminating alcoholic:
    Then there's the kind of fellow
    Drinks champagne to make him mellow:
    Swears by Cliquot, Bollinger, and Brut.
    Well, I tried some Brut myself,
    I found it on the bathroom shelf,
    And he's right, it got me mellow as a newt.

    Video Games 
  • Generally speaking, the main characters of Grand Theft Auto V often end up getting smashed on anything they ingest - knowingly or otherwise. However, Trevor Philips takes the cake: already a meth-head, he's also a recreational huffer, regularly gets shitfaced on beer or scotch, drinks gasoline during a mission intro, ends up doing all the drugs in a stolen van full of medical supplies, and can often be found waking up on train tracks with an empty bottle of booze in his hand. The only drug he actively dislikes is marijuana, and that's because since it's not a hard drug he sees it as a drug for weaklings.
  • Exploring the Ages of Myst reveals that Sirrus has a taste for vice - in contrast to his brother Achenar - and doesn't play favourites in his intoxicants of choice: his luxurious throne room in the Mechanical Age is fitted with its own wine cellar, empty bottles are scattered around his bed in the Channelwood Age, and his palatial bedchamber in the Stoneship Age conceals a number of suspicious-looking vials and syringes.
  • Che Garcia Hansson of The Secret World doesn't play favorites when it comes to drugs: during lean times on Solomon Island, he'll make do with pot; immersed in the nightlife of Tokyo, he makes his way through "mountains of dope," and when that's not available, he gets completely smashed on whatever booze is available until he gets kicked out of the club. And then he brings out his little bio-vials of spiders...
  • The Investment Banker of Streets of Rogue needs to take drugs once per minute, or he will enter Withdrawal state and take continuous damage. You can take any drug to satisfy your drug need, from cigarettes, sugar, some unknown syringes, or cyanide pill.
  • The Demoman of Team Fortress 2 is shown using various substitutes for his typical alcohol: a deleted scene in one of the comics has him willingly inject himself with the Sniper's caustic sedative, one item's description mentions he drinks wood alcohol (something usually added to keep people from drinking chemicals with alcohol in them), and one taunt has him chugging whiskey and the contents of a grenade.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Err of Aqua Teen Hunger Force is such a nicotine addict, he attempts to get high by inhaling the Ominous Fog the Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past from the Future summons when telling his stories. It seems to work (via placebo if nothing else), and Err even claimed it tasted like menthol.
  • Archer:
    • Sterling Archer is incapable of functioning unless he's in a constant alcoholic haze. In order to maintain the haze, he's occasionally had to get creative about sources of alcohol; in one episode, he tries to get loaded on barber's germicide.
    • His mother Malory as well. When the agency was visiting a space station, she (as well as Sterling) was unhappy to find out there was no alcohol on board. She tried making her own drinks by mixing Tang with rubbing alcohol.
    • Cheryl's go-to drug is usually huffing glue but she occasionally dives into other narcotics, including gummy bears laced with LSD.
  • In Clone High, supposedly recovered drug addict Larry Hardcore boasts that when he was still in the throes of addiction, he would have smoked raisins if he thought they would get him high.
  • Foxxy Love of Drawn Together runs over her four bandmates while drunk on a Gargle Blaster cocktail. Given how hard Foxxy is shown to party, she probably can't get buzzed on anything remotely normal anymore.
    Foxxy: [picking up the phone] I need to call an ambulance! Oh, girls, I am so sorry. I never should have been drinking and driving. That is the last time I mix liquor and beer and cough syrup and Kool-Aid and grape Kool-Aid and Lemon Pledge! [in confessional] And this time I mean it!
  • One joke in Family Guy showed the Cookie Monster trying to freebase cookie dough in a bathroom stall with a spoon and a lighter, all while anxiously mumbling that it's taking too long.
  • The Simpsons:
    • At the height of Krusty the Clown's opulent lifestyle, he admits to inhaling moon rocks. All it does at that point is help him get to normal.
    • Barney is primarily an alcoholic, but when shot with a tranquilizer dart in "Much Apu About Nothing", he pulls it out to drink the rest of the liquid inside.
    • In "The Mansion Family", Moe's barflies are so desperate for booze, he fends them off with a whip until the ship they're on crosses into international waters. Lenny asks for some rubbing alcohol for a cut, and Moe obliges. Lenny immediately starts drinking it, and Moe whips it right out of his hand.
  • The Venture Bros. had an episode where Sgt. Hatred, desperate for an alcohol fix, was on the floor of the bathroom spraying generic brand body spray into his mouth.


Video Example(s):



With the two leads heavy drinkers, disaster strikes when the lighthouse finally runs out of booze - forcing them to make do with a substitute: turpentine sweetened with honey.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / UndiscriminatingAddict

Media sources:

Main / UndiscriminatingAddict