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If you need an addictive or psychedelic substance for a storyline, there's always one old standby: Make one up. This meshes perfectly with Speculative Fiction but would seem completely out of place in a realistic series. Alternatively, if it's a comedy, you could get away with I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin! instead. Otherwise you can resort to the potentially narmy G-Rated Drug. Often can be the Spice of Life. Not be confused (usually) with Psycho Serum. For this trope In Space, see Alien Catnip. Addictive Magic is closely related.
Aside from a writer's hesitancy to show a beloved character using drugs, many viewers are surprised Media Watchdogs often cracked down on any depiction of drugs (even if they were negative) for many years. Lately it's been reduced to "heavily sactioned" at best, creation the unfortunate irony that incorrect portrayal of the effect of drugs has made audiences more liable to dismiss the true effects of drugs as propoganda.
In Real Life, these are known as "designer drugs", for people who want to get high without using technically illegal street drugs.
Anime & Manga
- Code Geass has Refrain, which causes the user to relive their fondest memories, making it especially popular among the downtrodden Japanese. It's also rather important to the plot in several places.
- Serial Experiments Lain has Accela, a powerful nanomachine-powered stimulant that causes Accela Bullet Time, heightened senses, and delusional thoughts.
- It also seems to physically link the user into the Wired, and susceptible to its more esoteric phenomena.
- Cowboy Bebop has the Red Eye, a stimulant which is sprayed in the eye and grants incredibly fast reaction times and dissociation from reality.
- One episode of the classic Astro Boy has "Yellow Horse", an intravenous drug made from "Space Dust" that causes euphoria & compulsive dancing followed by horrible withdrawal pains. The gang that created it, the bizarre Phantom Club (a group of mostly space colonists dressed up in ridiculous ghost costumes), in typical over the top cartoon villain fashion, apparently intended to get the entire population of Earth addicted so they could take over the world.
- A wide variety of new drugs are available in the setting of Gunnm (AKA, Battle Angel Alita), as is typical of futuristic dystopias.
- An episode of Silent Moebius deals with a drug known as Dommel, which is a very powerful performance-enhancing drug... with a tendency to mutate its users into hideous monsters before dissolving into a puddle of goo. It's extracted from the body of an demon from another dimension.
- Similarly, Togainu no Chi has Line, which increases strength and reduces sanity.
- The Big Bad of the Fishman Island arc in One Piece uses this, as does his crew. It's called Energy Steroid, and taking one pill doubles your strength...but also shortens your life.
- From the Punk Hazard arc, we also have NHC 10, a highly addictive stimulant drug. It can be used as medicine, but only selected doctors in selected countries are allowed to use it. It only takes a small daily amount of it to be addicted, and its short-time withdrawal symptoms are pain and increased aggressivity. It's dangerous to the point that the characters who were shown to be addicted to it were writhing on the ground in agony, before going completely apeshit and attacking Luffy. Oh, and said addicted characters were kidnapped children who were experimented on by the Big Bad of the arc.
- Watchmen had 'Katies' (from KT-28, possibly a derivative of Ketamine), a type of drug often used by the Top-Knot gangs. It should be noted that this was not so much about avoiding naming real life drugs, but establishing that culture was divergent in this reality given the influence of Dr. Manhattan. Ordinary drugs such as marijuana and cocaine are also mentioned.
- Elf Quest has "dreamberries".
- In the Russian version they called "Drunkberries".
- The Batman comics give us "Venom", a highly addictive "super-steroid" which gives the user incredible strength, alertness, and agility temporarily. When first introduced, Batman himself is using it as a way to cope with his imperfections. He soon realizes he's made a terrible mistake, and must endure a horrific withdrawal before returning to normal. But Venom is most famous as the power source of Batman's enemy Bane, who wears a tank full of the stuff with tubes hooked up to his veins, giving him a constant, steady dose of Venom. The result is that he's incredibly strong (so much so that he once broke Batman's back...he got better) but totally dependent on the stuff, and Azrael eventually beat him by cutting off his supply.
- In Batman Beyond a future version of Bane appears; he's now an incredibly frail invalid, his body utterly ruined by years of Venom abuse. The drug, on the other hand, had been put on the street as a performance enhancer, in convenient transdermal patches.
- Marvel has Mutant Growth Hormone, or MGH. It induces a temporary genetic shift in the user, giving them superpowers. It also fucks you up good.
- In Judge Dredd, there is a drug to give immortality to humans made by killing and harvesting glands of a sentient alien race, The Stookies, that have heart attacks at the slightest things (similar to fainting goats). Naturally, stookie glanding is completely illegal and people who deal in it are dealt with in Dredd's normal manner (most of them wind up dead). So do most of the Stookies he's trying to save. Stookie glands are so addictive, that the symptoms of coming off them involves rapid ageing.
- In Flash and Teen Titans, one of Vandal Savage's businesses is selling Velocity-9, a drug that gives the users superspeed. And then they burn out and die.
- D.M.N. in the Superman titles is a drug that turns the user into a demon. It was created by Lord Satanus.
- Adam Warren's Dirty Pair universe has several fantastic drugs, this being the future filled with transhuman technology. Wardrugs are (possibly) inplanted applicators that inject a tranquilizing cocktail into the blood after a serious injury. Kei gets her leg half blown off, and starts 'glanding' wardrugs immediately, which makes her pretty loopy. There is also a chemweapon called 'Proust-in-a-Can', which places the victim into a coma while they are locked into re-experiencing a distant memory.
- Since Transmetropolitan is basically the adventures of Hunter S. Thompson Twenty Minutes Into the Future, there are several "future drugs" that protagonist Spider Jerusalem ingests injects and generally crams into every orifice. As noted in the Quotes section, among these is Mechanics, a nanotech drug that slowly turns your body into a cyborg system that turns addiction into a protocol.
- When Spider moves into an apartment, he finds his appliances are drug addicts. Someone went to the trouble of developing a drug that an AI can have plugged into its mainframe. (Those Cool Shades? The Maker was high at the time.)
- The Invisibles has the "Key" series of drugs (Key 17, Key 23) that cause people to hallucinate and mistake words for the thing they describe. Having been told he was infected with a flesh-eating virus, someone is tortured by being shown a hand mirror with a post-it saying "diseased face"; a villain drops to her knees, sobbing with regret and begging forgiveness in front of a "world's greatest dad" mug; and one of the Big Bads explodes when a flag-gun saying "Bang!" unfurls in front of him.
- Marvel's 2099 line of comics in the early-to-mid '90s had quite a few examples of this:
- Rapture was a legal designer drug developed by (and exclusive to) the Alchemax corporation that would be distributed to employees in order to keep them loyal to the company. A "very high-powered, mind-expanding hallucinogen," it causes the user to feel perfectly calm and collected ... unless he tries to fight the drug's effects, in which case it causes him to hallucinate wildly, "seeing monsters everywhere." It also bonds with the user's DNA in short order, becoming so addictive "you need it the way you need air to breathe." Geneticist Miguel O'Hara, who would become the Spider-Man of 2099, was slipped the drug by his boss when Miguel tried to quit the company. He tried to rid his system of Rapture by rewriting his own genetic code using a stored file of his genome which he'd been using for experiments. Things didn't go as planned, and Miguel ended up with spidery traits in his DNA as a result.
- A similar drug, Rhapsody, was mentioned in an issue of X-Men 2099, in which it was revealed that the Synthia corporation secretly laced its food products with the drug, so that consumers would become addicted to eating Synthia food, at the expense of their health.
- Chameleon 2099 turned out to be a drug rather than a person, which not only manipulated a user's DNA, it allowed him to shapeshift (either partially or completely) into whatever animal happened to suit the user's mindset at the time of taking the drug. Users have been seen assuming the characteristics of animals like bulls, mice, felines, and dogs. It was an Alchemax-designed drug, but "unstable even by their standards" to the point that users often die painfully from the toll it takes on their systems.
- Chain is one of the most illegal of drugs in that era. In 2099 A.D. Genesis, it was revealed that the legislation on Chain had been upgraded from a "thirty-year stretch" (being physically aged by three decades) for possession to a "death penalty" for even having it on one's person. In his only appearance in the 2099 comics, the Daredevil of that era planted a dime bag of Chain on a drug dealer just to make sure the dealer never pushes drugs again. At the time, the dealer had been peddling a drug laced with "a rider chemical" that "causes communicable sterility". In short, Daredevil signed a drug dealer's death warrant for trying to "kill all birth in Downtown."
- Perhaps the most bizarre example was found in X-Nation #1. The main characters, a group of teenagers living at the Xavier Institute for Indigent Children, had slipped away to a bar and try a unique hallucinogen: milk. They attached diodes to their foreheads; drinking milk stimulated their brains into producing bizarre hallucinations. But as one of them insisted, "'s really good f'r your bones an' teeeeeth."
- A shot of "buz", from an early issue of Cerebus, is one hundred percent addictive and provides all the nutrition an adult needs in one day. A villain uses it to subjugate and rule his entire city.
- Taduki from the Allan Quartermain novels (see below) also features in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, in which it's a thinly disguised version of opium, and Allan is hooked on it. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Century: 1969 will apparently have the drug of choice in Swinging London as "Tadukic Acid" instead of LSD.
- Top Ten has drugs that induce super speed and give hallucinations that other people can see.
- RoboCop 2 has "Nuke," which is "injected" via disposable eyedrop vials.
- Star Wars: Attack of the Clones had death sticks, something which the writers of the Holonet News promo had some fun with. The Expanded Universe featured harder drugs such as ryll and glitterstim (which was, incidentally, the "spice" that Han used to smuggle for Jabba the Hutt).
- Graverobber, the Loveable Rogue of Repo! The Genetic Opera, peddles Zydrate, a highly addictive painkiller manufactured from corpses.
- In 9, Big Guy 8 is at one point seen holding a magnet over his head, making his eyes go all fuzzy in a Does This Remind You of Anything? way; presumably it messes up the electronics in his head.
- Similarly, a deleted scene from Buckaroo Banzai establishes that the Red Lectroids get a narcotic effect from sucking on dry cell batteries.
- The "So Beautiful, So Dangerous" segment of Heavy Metal shows two alien starship pilots getting wasted on a white powder they identify as "plutonium nyborg" and then flying home utterly stoned. "NOSEDIVE!"
- Played with in Transformers when a police detective accuses Sam of partaking in "mojo", which he assumes is a designer drug. "Mojo" is the name of the family's chihuahua, and the drugs are said dog's painkillers.
- Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man has Crystal Dream "...what it is, you don't shoot it, you don't smoke it, you don't snort it. Apparently, you put it in your eyes, and it tells you lies."
- Mass Effect Expanded Universe introduced red sand, implied to be cocaine that's been exposed to element zero radiation. Gets the user high, and also lets them temporarily use a weakened form of biotic powers.
- A Song of Ice and Fire also features pretty heavy drug use
- Milk of the poppy is basically opium, which is usually used to deal with pain, but can also get addictive. Gregor Clegane takes it to deal with his chronic headaches, and seems to guzzle it like water.
- Sourleaf is a mild drug apparently similar to tobacco that, when chewed, stains the user's teeth bloody red.
- Shade of the Evening is a psychotropic drug used by warlocks. It turns the user's lips blue.
- Perdido Street Station probably had several, but the plot relevant one was Dreamshit. Which is made up of dreams made physical and sawdust. A dose knocks the user unconscious while they experience all the dreams (of all "genres") semi-simultaneously. It's very intense but the hangover doesn't last long.
- Soma in Brave New World is the ideal recreational drug. There is a Real Life drug of the same name, but it's clearly not the same substance.
- A Scanner Darkly had Substance-D, sometimes abbreviated as "D" or "Slow Death." It was a powerful hallucinogen with some schizophrenic side-effects.
- Another Philip K. Dick novel, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch had Can-D, another hallucinogen. You might sense a theme...
- The In Death series has a lot, with names like Zoner (a marijuana Fictional Counterpart), and Zeus (a PCP analogue).
- The Red Dwarf novels had "Bliss", a brown powder that literally made you believe you were God, could supposedly get you hooked just by looking at it & would cause the user to become suicidally depressed for decades after coming down, which is probably what made it so addictive. Also, Better than Life, which was a sort of Lotus Eater Machine in the books rather than the more innocuous artificial reality video game of the TV series.
- The universe of The Ship Who Sang has several designer drugs, including Blissto and Seductron.
- Fictional drugs abound in The Naked Lunch by William Burroughs: Black Meat, Mugwump Juice, etc.
- AUM from The Illuminatus! Trilogy, alongside a whole pharmacy of real drugs.
- The novel of Metropolis (and cut portions of the film) had Maohee, a hallucinogen that causes a large group to experience the visions of a single person (problems arise when a worker takes it). Drinking water erases any memory of the drug whatsoever.
- In one of Andre Norton's books, she described a drug called crax seed, apparently chewed like tobacco (there's a reference to someone having spit out a crax cud). While high on the stuff, you're lots faster, stronger, and smarter than normal. When you come down, you come down hard: "What occurred to them later was not pretty at all."
- Alan Dean Foster created Bloodhype, which must have fantastic marketing to ever sell, given that one dose is addictive -- and withdrawal is fatal.
- Discworld novels have the troll drug Slab, which is ammonium chloride cut with radium and is a hallucinogen - but only if you're a troll. It also makes their brains melt.
- There's a long list of drugs in The Truth, some of which are genuine street names for real drugs, some of which sound like they might be street names for real drugs, and a couple of which are established as variants on Slab in Thud. These variants include Scrape (called so because you scrape the remains of Slab you have and cook it with pigeon droppings and alcohol. Also, you're scraping the bottom of the barrel), and Slide, which seems to be an ersatz for crack and PCP.
- The Lensman series had nitrolabe, thionite, bentlam, and hadive. However, opium and heroin were still in circulation.
- Subverted in House of Leaves, one of the writers/editors, Johnny Truant, of the story within a story claims in one of the footnotes/journal entries that he visited an old friend, who was a doctor, on one of his journeys. During his visit Johnny told the doctor about night terrors and screaming in his sleep, the doctor gave him a "yellow pill". Afterwords the dreams stopped and slept more peacefully. It was suddenly revealed that the Journal entries were faked by Johnny to make himself believe that his life was better than it actually was in the duration of the writing, painfully subverting the trope.
- A full list of fictional drugs found in Dune would take up most of this page. The most important one is Spice, aka Melange. Melange is is highly desired not for recreational purposes, but because of its geriatric (life-extending) properties, and its ability to trigger precognizance and other advanced mental abilities in specially-trained individuals. Because of this, and the fact that it cannot be artificially synthesized, the entire economy of the Dune universe is centered around it. Word of God is that it's also an analogy for the importance of petrol/crude oil in the real world.
- Tamora Pierce likes to do this. There's "laugh powder" and "hotblood wine" and "dragonsalt" and "rainbow dream." Some or all of these are probably real drugs under fantasy names (poppy is also mentioned), but we'll never know.
- The "ThreeEye" in the first Dresden Files book, which was supposed to give its users second sight. Harry was skeptical until a junkie noticed a rather nasty psychic scar of his. Turns out it actually did work; it was a potion an Evil Sorcerer was mass-producing after he realized it was addictive.
- Getting more specific in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, mind-altering drugs are typically called spice and many of them are actually mined. Confusingly, perfectly normal food additives are also called spice, and a lot of spices also have medical uses.
- Easy justification for the confusion: "spice" is a street name.
- Pure glitterstim is made by giant underground spiders, is activated by light, and grants temporary ability to read nonhostile minds, although it also brings paranoia and apparently can make people stupider - in the X Wing Series, a habitual glitbiter forgets that he's talking to Wedge Antilles via hologram and thinks he's under attack.
- Bota is a Magic Antidote to, well, everything, and when a Jedi accidentally injects herself with a recently-prepared sample she momentarily becomes one with the Force. She tries it again later and it works a second time, and it then preoccupies her thoughts and causes her to doubt and and struggle with herself until she overcomes it, gives the samples to a droid, and sends it off to give to the Jedi Masters, who presumably will know what to do with it. Years later Vader, having read the report, takes it along with something that would make the effects more permanent. It doesn't work too well. Apparently bota goes bad.
- The Essential Guide to Alien Species mentions that Arcona can become addicted to salt. Yes, sodium chloride. It's a hallucinogen.
- In Roger Zelazny and Robert Sheckley's Azzie Elbub trilogy, demons, angels, witches, and other supernatural beings drink a substance called ichor in lieu of alcohol. Ichor is also shown to have a raft of other possible uses, most notably as a magical preservative. It is also implied that a number of the more esoteric alchemical ingredients can double as drugs, particularly "black hellebore," which is noted to both stunt your growth and give your hairy palms.
- The Sprawl Trilogy from William Gibson has several. There are a wide variety of "derms" that can be stuck to the skin and several kinds of crystals that are ingested or inhaled.
- Border Town has a river (theMad River, aptly enough) of this stuff, which, oddly, produces edible fish which are a bit freaky but don't cause intoxication. There's also "dragon's milk", which is a drug for elves but just makes humans sick.
- I'm shocked that no one has mentioned the drug in Finder that supposedly turns it users into elves... needless to say, it doesn't work.
- Zilpha Keatley Snyder's Green-sky books (known to gamers as Below the Root) had Wissenberries. Also known as Sacred Berries, or just Berries. A narcotic with both medicinal and recreational uses, the Kindar also used it as a means of social self-control, even giving it to kids to quiet them down in class (Snyder was a school teacher, and the use of pharmaceuticals to make kids quiet and obedient is Older Than You Think). Addicts were called "Berry-dreamers". Snyder never said that Berries caused the dreaded "wasting" disease, but she did say that people with the wasting tended to eat a lot of Berries, even when they won't eat anything else. If you were really hardcore you could try pavo-berries, which come from a "parasitic shrub" and will kill you sooner rather than later.
- In the Warhammer 40000 Ravenor series by Dan Abnett, where a large part of the plot involves a drugs ring investigation, mentions several fictional drugs such as lho (which is the 40k tobacco), obscura, lodestones and flects.
- Continuing the previous example, several of these substances such as obscura and lho are also mentioned elsewhere in the Warhammer 40000 canon, such as the Gaunt's Ghosts series. Though they are fantastic drugs, their uses approximate that of opium and something between canibus and tabacco, respectively.
- The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss has Denner Resin, which acts like opium. Addicts can be spotted because of their very white smiles (and the fact that they will do anything to get their next fix). This becomes a significant plot point when a local dragon finds a Denner Tree orchard, eats the trees, and becomes addicted. And then it runs out of trees...
- In The Seagulls Have Landed by Colin Bateman, one of these, called "Crush" becomes a critical plot point. A whole gang war is going on over the stuff.
- The Taduki herb is a hallucinogen in H. Rider Haggard's later Allan Quartermain novels, which the title character uses to go on vision quests.
- Onadyn in Red Handed by Gena Showalter. The drug was made for aliens who couldn't handle oxygen, but humans started using it to get high.
- The Nightside series is prone to blend this trope with a Shout-Out, featuring references to people who smoke Martian red weed or mainline some Hyde for kicks.
- Fisstech in The Witcher series is, for all practical intents, cocaine.
- In The Hunger Games we have morphling, a futuristic drug with probably heroin-like effects due to its name being derived from morphine, another opiate. Psychotic ex-Tribute Johanna has an addiction to it.
- Labyrinths of Echo has a few, and established early on that people born in one world reacts abnormally on psychoactive substances of another. So while locals, along with children, guzzle their Soup of Rest for a little relaxation and daydreaming, while Sir Max was instantly on high to the giggling idiocy followed by a withdrawal "as if trying to Going Cold Turkey after several years of heroin addiction" despite the help of highly skilled healers. On the other hand, Kakhar's Balsam is a psychostimulant strong enough that locals don't let each other drive under it, even though their traffic is excruciatingly slow by our standards, while Max drinks it much like strong coffee, and suffers even less side-effects. Conversely, once he accidentally acquired pot from our world and gave it to his Nigh Invulnerable friend with steel self-control to "relax a little" -- Hilarity Ensues; he was berated for not having a clue after personal experience with such things.
- Lemon sap in Cherie Priest's Clockwork Century universe. It's distilled from a Deadly Gas and is highly addictive. The worst part, however, is that extended consumption turns the user into a rotting, flesh-eating zombie. A zombie.
- Shows up in Battlestar Galactica, where Laura Roslin's use of the drug "chamalla" has elements of morphine, heroin and marijuana, including painful withdrawal, hallucinations, and its use as a painkiller rather than actually affecting the disease she's taking it for. Similarly, several of the pilots find themselves obligated to use "stims" (the all-purpose sci-fi version of amphetamine) to keep up with their round-the-clock responsibilities, and suffer severe physical and emotional damage as a result.
- "Stims" were used before Galactica, in Babylon 5, with similar realistic effect. The abusing character, a doctor, starts out simply using them as necessary to keep up with his work, then grows addicted, almost kills a patient, gets investigated by the security chief (a recovering alcoholic who knows whereof he speaks), leaves his job, suffers withdrawal, and eventually almost dies in an attempt to "find himself." The security chief falls off the wagon once or twice, too, but only with conventional Earth alcohol...
- There's also "Dust", a substance that grants telepathy to "mundanes" (non-Telepaths).
- Season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer focuses quite a bit on Willow's addiction to casting magic spells.
- Season 5 has vampires feeding on drug-using humans-including Buffy's boyfriend Riley. It may or may not be the Orpheus from Angel.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation, "The Game". A really lame video game with the power to seduce the entire crew's brains, to the point of unthinking loyalty to the game's creators, leaving the Creator's Pet and some-girl-we've-never-seen-before to save the day.
- TNG also came up with synthehol, a Justified version of this trope. It's a replacement for alcohol in beverages that can (apparently) be flushed from the system quite rapidly if you're called back to duty while in Ten Forward. The science book Life Signs: The Biology of Star Trek went so far as to figure a way how it could work: broken down by adrenaline when Red Alert sounds.
- In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Jem'Hadar are addicted to the milky substance ketracel white so much that they die without it.
- It's not just an addictive drug, it's their only means of nourishment past puberty.
- In True Blood (and the original books The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries) vampires' blood, a.k.a. V-blood, V-juice, or V, is apparently more fun than every other recreational drug ever. It also increases the libido, the senses, and gives limited Super Strength. It even has medicinal value for those who are wounded. Too bad vampires as a whole don't take kindly to the commoditization of their life essence.
- It also creates adverse withdrawal symptoms if one gets addicted. In True Blood, Jason's went static, and he became more aggressive and desperate. It also gave him a boner from hell when he overdosed on it, and had to have the blood painfully removed from his penis.
- Don't forget that taking the stuff will create a mystical bond between the user and the vampire it came from, allowing them to feel each others emotions, making the user sexually attracted to the vampire in question, and at least to an extent allowing the vampire to keep track of the user, though the extent of how well this works is unclear.
- Angel has Orpheus, a drug which vampires take by drinking the blood of a human who's injected it.
- Several episodes of RoboCop The Series.
- Lexx called its Fantastic Marijuana "gongslanger root".
- Vraxoin in the Doctor Who story Nightmare of Eden.
- One New Who episode dealing with a future Earth had drug-ified emotions. The invention of a "Bliss" drug led to the collapse of civilization, resulting in humanity being forced to live in horrible traffic for generations.
- As mentioned above, Dr. Franklin's stim addiction is a small arc of Babylon 5 that plays out over a couple seasons. The series also features 'dust,' which can unlock a user's latent telepathic abilities.
- In Sy Fy's 2009 miniseries Alice, Wonderland's economy runs on the sale of liquid emotions extracted from Oysters, or people from the human world.
- The Trolls of The Tenth Kingdom have "dwarf moss" that makes you see fairies. However, the real example is the Troll King's invisibility shoes, which give their wearer such a great sense of power that they become more and more obsessed with wearing them all the time. Even touching them seems to be enough to begin the process; as soon as Virginia does so, she hides them in her backpack, thinks of nothing else, and acts increasingly paranoid, even clutching the shoes like Linus's security blanket. This is lampshaded by Wolf (twice!) when he claims "magic is very nice, but it's very easy to get addicted", and later tells Virginia she is "hopelessly addicted to those shoes... and I'm not too far behind!" Whether this is meant to be a parody or an object lesson is never made clear, but it certainly plays out with extreme hilarity.
- Of course, there are literary antecedents for some sort of invisibility equipment acting as a drug.
- A later example would be the scene in the Deadly Swamp, where Tony and Virginia eat the magic mushrooms, drink the swamp water, and sleep (after being explicitly told not to) and hallucinate a bizarre dream. The fact that Procol Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale" plays throughout is of course only window dressing for setting the scene...
- To hammer the point home, the soundtrack piece which accompanies both this scene and parts of the magic shoe shenanigans is entitled "Addicted to Magic".
- Farscape has "Distillate of Laka" which helps take the edge off of John's Aeryn issues...when he doubles the dose.
- The Dinosaurs had a drug special which Robbie, Earl, and Charlene became addicted to a plant that they never really named.
- Robbie also develops an addiction to "thornoids" when trying to develop his muscle mass, a small annoying and insulting rodent covered in spikes that acts just like steroids when eaten.
- The survivors of the show Whoops found a mutated berry bush that make you high by smashing it on your forehead.
- Vampires' blood-drinking in Being Human is an addiction, not a biological necessity, and comes complete with painful withdrawal symptoms and a 12-step program (well, for a while anyway.)
- Tracker had an Enixian who was making a drug that his species used as eyedrops into their highly sensitive eyes. It was destructive and often fatal to humans, which meant Cole and Mel had to put the producer out of business.
- Dealing in kassa, an addictive corn-like grain, is a major source of income for the Lucian Alliance in the Stargate Verse. Some of the SGC's military actions in the last couple seasons of Stargate SG-1 involved kassa interdiction.
- There's also the Blood of Sokar, a Goa'uld-developed hallucinogen used by Apophis to interrogate SG-1 in "The Devil You Know".
- Since the only law in the titular city of Mortasheen is "Chaos Reigns", then it should come as no surprise that a few of the game's Mons are madde for producing these. Aside from the two plant based ones, there's also the Crepusclent, which secretes psychotropic worms that give you ludicrously powerful Psychic Powers, but also causes very vivid hallucinations. There's also Jitter, who has tumorous drug-producing glands in its head, that make it "a viable alternative to the coffe machine". Unfortunately, due to these glands' they're pretty much all insane.
- Over the Edge has several imaginary designer drugs such as Slo Mo, which gives the impression that time has slowed down.
- Warhammer 40000 features 'combat drugs' as options on several units, sometimes taken voluntarily. In-universe, these are basically a mix of stimulants, painkillers, and more exotic chemicals intended to keep a soldier going for as long as possible before dying. Usually in a berserk rage. The Ciaphas Cain Hero of the Imperium!!! novels mention the names of several drugs: 'slaught, psychon, blissout, and others.
- Some background materials imply that the Emperor's Children, a legion of the settings worst abusers of combat drugs, manufacture those drugs from the basic components from broken down human bodies.
- Combat drugs aside, there are several recreational drugs that exist in the background as well. The most ubiquitous being the narcotic lho-sticks, which are smoked like a cigarette and apparently an opiate. Others include obscura, gladstones, and grinweed. Another example that plays the trope much straighter is flects, which are warp-saturated bits of broken glass, "used" simply by looking into them; keep in mind that since they are tainted by the warp, flects are a much more insidious example than most others on this page...
- Both Vampire: The Masqueradee and Vampire: The Requiem go for vampire blood as a drug. Humans who take it can look forward to halted aging and a measure of supernatural power, but risk getting addicted and being "blood bound," entering a state where no matter how much they hate the vampire, they can't raise a hand to harm them.
- In various sourcebooks for Mage: The Ascension, there are examples of magically created drugs, from the enchanted tabs of LSD, to various Progenitor created drugs that are intended to have effects ranging from making the user aware of all things within a set area, more likely to believe certain realities, or become completely incapable of feeling emotions. Of course, this being Mage, players are able to make any kind of magical fantasy drug they want. Crack that turns you into fire? Go for it! Mushrooms that makes any hallucinations real? Of course! Drugs that make you aware of how every action you take has been taken before and it's all been codified by magical beings who observe you invisibly? Sure.
- Additionally, the blood of other supernatural creatures has various effects on vampires in Vampire: The Masquerade: werewolf blood is analogous to PCP, for instance, while mage and fairy blood act as powerful hallucinogens.
- The Mythologies sourcebook for Requiem actually introduces a drug specifically for vampires -- Solace. It's injected via the tongue, made partly from the blood of teenaged "cutters", and allows the vampire to temporarily feel like they're alive again.
- A suggested plothook in Changeling: The Lost is the discovery of a goblin fruit known as "bloodroot", which has vampire-only narcotic properties, and the potential havoc that can ensue as unscrupulous changelings begin messing with vampire society and vampires, in turn, discover there is a drug they can actually feel and come hunting for it in turn.
- One running plot for the Orpheus line involved "pigment," a special type of heroin created by exposure to ghostly matter. Those who overdosed on it became their own special type of ghost - a "Hue," which could use Spite with reduced penalty.
- The Book of Vile Darkness for Dungeons and Dragons lists several fantastic drugs along with game rules for them (presumably because it's a book about everything that is bad). One of the nastier examples is distilled pain, which, well. There are naturally rules for addiction, but fortunately you can always remove that if you have access to the right spell.
- Also, in the Known World/Mystara setting for D&D, there's an Alphatian drug called zzonga.
- Exalted not only has fantastic drugs, it has fantastic ways to produce mundane drugs. Namely, the Beasts of Resplendent Liquid, immortal dinosaur-like beasts engineered in the First Age by a Twilight Caste bioengineer. They feed on pharmaceutically helpful plants and ferment the plants into an associated medicine. The Guild, however, got their hands on the Beasts, and now mainly put them to work on poppy fields so they can corner the heroin market.
- The future world of Shadowrun has come up with a lot of these. Perhaps the most interesting is "deep weed", an Awakened form of seaweed that causes you to astrally perceive when eaten... whether you want to or not. Then there's BTL (short for "Better Than Life") chips/programs, which come in varieties ranging from "pornography" to "emotional overload" to "deliberate synthesia".
- Unknown Armies features the magical school of Narco-Alchemy, which allows an adept to apply the principles of alchemy to the drug trade. There's a lot of fantastic drugs involved.
- Sly Cooper has Spice, harvested from Indian flowers. In large amounts, it causes uncontrollable rage and hatred in the user, acting a little like G-rated PCP.
- The Fallout series features a wide array of drugs, from Mentats that boost your brainpower to Jet, a stimulant extracted from Brahmin manure with severe withdrawal symptoms. Also Buffout (short-term boost to physical strength and endurance) and Psycho (increased damage resistance). The player character can become addicted to any or all of them; certain traits taken at character creation can affect how effective and addictive they are.
- Fallout 3 had to change the name of a drug morphine to 'Med-X' in order to keep distribution in certain countries. A cry against 'censorship' went out, but real life drug names were never part of the Fallout franchise before, and Bethesda pretty much designed them to act like magic potions anyway, and this one in particular doesn't realistically simulate morphine. A drug that increases damage resistance? Really?
- Well, if you pretend that hit points are a simulation of the amount of pain a person can withstand before giving into said pain, it would make sense that injecting oneself with morphine would increase pain tolerance. It would not, however, delay death, especially considering what most deaths look like in that game...
- Silent Hill has the hallucinogenic White Claudia/PTV.
- The plot of Max Payne revolves around Valkyr, colloquially known as "V", a PCP-like drug originally developed as a Super Serum for the military, but abandoned when it turned out to be addictive Psycho Serum, spurring the manufacturer to recoup their losses by selling the stuff to the mob, who then turned it loose on the streets. V also appears to have hallucinogenic properties, sending the titular hero on a really bad trip when he gets forcibly dosed up with it at one point.
- On a related note, those painkillers he's popping regularly for most of the game must be something pretty spectacular.
- Deus Ex has Zyme, the drug of choice for teenage rebels and junkies in 2052, in game it just gives you the effect of at least a dozen bottles of alcohol (wobbly and blurry vision) the Shifter game mod allows you to use it for temporary bullet time (normal effects still come after it).
- The Nameless Mod has Melk (TM), it has religious uses with the Goat cult, who have fountains of the stuff that allow their high priest to resurrect herself everytime she is killed, until they are shut off
- There is also crystal melk, which functions just like Zyme in the original game.
- Deus Ex Invisible War introduces Black Market Biomods, which have lements of this. They're illegal, and supposedly have negative effects on some people (forunately, your character is not one of those unlucky people). Complete with messages warning parents about the dangers. Plus, they're only sold by cyborgs in dark alleys.
- The Nameless Mod has Melk (TM), it has religious uses with the Goat cult, who have fountains of the stuff that allow their high priest to resurrect herself everytime she is killed, until they are shut off
- The Elder Scrolls series has Moon Sugar and its derivative Skooma, not to mention loads of fictional alcoholic drinks. Puts a whole new twist on the Alchemy skill.
- There are mods that allow you to produce Skooma out of raw Moon Sugar, which can then be sold for a decent profit to certain less than scrupulous traders.
- It should be noted that most honest merchants won't even barter anything with you if you have Skooma on you. You have to drop it first.
- Black Lotus is mentioned in passing several times in Baldur's Gate II - a backroom in the Cornet Inn suggest that it's an Opium Analog, and for a very mercantile city, Amn forbid the selling of it.
- In Saints Row 2, the Sons of Samedi manufacture Loa Dust, which is popular amongst the potheads at college. Part of the Saints' campaign against the Sons is in figuring out how to make it themselves, then stealing the competition's market.
- Liquid Sky in Snatcher, which was necessary since the game was made right in the middle of the 'War on Drugs' campaign.
- And Narc from Policenauts, which gave a shout out to the use of Liquid Sky in Snatcher by complaining that the two places with the highest drug rates in the populated world are Beyond Coast and "America, where the War on Drugs is still being fought".
- Narc is described as having 'the addictiveness of heroin and the hallucinogenic effects and potency of LSD'. Presumably it also gives you the high of heroin, because, otherwise, what'd be the point when you could take normal, non-addictive LSD?
- One character in Policenauts has the ability to not even respond physically to being shot due to the anaesthetic effects of Narc, and the main ingredient is from poppies, so it's presumably more opiate than hallucinogen.
- Nekoko's fairy dust in Yume Miru Kusuri.
- Instead of the benign Mana potions found in other games, Dragon Age features lyrium, an addictive mineral that can either be inhaled as a powder or made into elixirs. Side effects include delusions, paranoia, dementia, obsessive behavior, hallucinations, dry mouth...higher doses or exposure to large amounts of naturally occurring lyrium can cause overdose-like symptoms along the lines of brain damage and death.
- Haze has Nectar, which makes soldiers easier to control by concealing how much of a Crapsack World they're in (and how much of that they're responsible for). Withdrawal is really bad.
- Heavy Rain has triptocaine, a drug that one of the main characters, Norman Jayden, is addicted to. It's up to the player whether he will use it or not.
- Norman is only addicted to triptocaine because he abuses it to suppress the symptoms of another addiction he has: ARI, his virtual reality sunglasses that can be very dangerous with overuse and really screw with your perception of reality. Near the end of the game, keeping them on too long will make his eyes bleed, and further use will kill him.
- Mass Effect has red sand, a derivative of element zero. It gives the user temporary biotic powers, or enhances them if the user is a biotic.
- Hallex, seen in Samara's loyalty mission, causes euphoria and heightened senses. It's probably one of many drugs that originate on alien worlds.
- The city of Billion in Gungrave is overrun with crime and a mysterious drug known only as "seed". It's highly addictive and gives the user increased resilience and strength, along with lowered inhibitions and euphoria. However, it eventually drives the user insane and leads to death. Turns out that seed is really derived from a malevolent race of alien parasites whose only reason to live is to reproduce by taking control of other lifeforms. And it's used in the technology that brought the protagonist back from death and nearly all the enemies he fights throughout the series.
- Dream Leaf in Golden Sun Dark Dawn is an iridescent tree leaf from a semi-sentient (?) tree that acts as a sedative and gives the user good dreams. Its typical use is by old people and insomniacs. In war-torn Border Town, it is taken recreationally by those who want to dream of the good old days or by our heroes, to access the Haures summon in the blocked-off part of town.
- When the Dream Tree is under attack by the ghostly monster Sludge, its leaves instead induce nightmares.
- World of Warcraft has Bloodthistle, an herb that can only be taken by Blood Elves. When taken, it can increase spell power for ten minutes. On the other hand, it has a twenty minute 'withdrawal', which lowers your spirit. Oh, and it's outlawed in Shattrath City.
- In a lore interview, the blood specialization of Death Knights apparently have blood that works like this, blood that heals their allies (blood tap and bloodworms being the most apparent) are addictive if overused, causing reliance and withdrawls in a way similair to the ghouls of Vampire: The Masquerade.
- The Medic in Team Fortress 2 can apparently get high off the fumes from his Kritzkrieg medigun. It also heals him by +11 health! So, as it turns out, huffing fumes to get high is sometimes good for you.
- Escape Velocity Nova's official timeline mentions FATE, a "highly addictive narcotic" created accidentally when scientists tried to use a spaceborne chemical called TCTLIDS to create medicines. The drug does not appear in the game proper, however.
- A fan-made sequel has 324-florazine iodase (street name "stardust"), which is a regulated but legal antidepressant for humans, and an illegal drug for several alien species.
- The X-Universe has spaceweed (think space marijuana) and space fuel (a.k.a. Argon whiskey). Both are illegal in the Commonwealth, and both are highly prized by players for pacifying the Space Pirate population.
- Ultima VII features Silver Serpent Venom, which temporarily ups all your stats only to permanently damage them when it wears off. Hilariously, using far too much of it at once will cause it to absurdly boost your character's stats when it wears off, making them ridiculously strong with some very odd effects on game mechanics.
- Sluggy Freelance occasionally uses super-scientific drugs in the place of real ones. There was Riff's experiment with "Senti-Mental" and, of course, "Intravenous Drugs From Another Dimension!"
- Homestuck's trolls, a race of aliens plagued by violent night terrors, sleep in coccoons filled with a powerful sedative gel called sopor slime, which has effects similar to marijuana when eaten. Gamzee Makara is a chronic user. For a good reason!
- The Lydian Option has both Janta Leaf (a future "soft drug") and highly addictive blue alien fruit.
- The Tale of the Exile: The elves of The Physician's Guild use an extract from the Elisdee Lily as an antiseptic. Unfortunately for the main character, a side effect of Elisdee exract is wild hallucinations. It's implied that the elves actually sell the extract to patients once they become addicted to the hallucinations.
- In the GURPS adventure based on the Chaos Timeline, one dealer tries to sell the PCs the drug "black niig", which supposedly makes people feel "like Stalin , when he crushed his enemies' balls", and later they meet a crazy fundamentalist Christian who claims he knew a girl who never listened to advice, took nanodrugs and one day literally fell apart to dust.
- Spin, from the Bravestarr episode "The Price". It has a level of addictiveness bordering on Compressed Vice. Its effects are shown to be violent, with many users being taken to the hospital, and the kid who is the focus of the episode dying at the end.
- Captain Planet did this trope with an anti-drug episode, "Mind Pollution", where the drug in question (oh-so-creatively called "Bliss") turns its victims into strung-out hollow-eyed zombies. Like "Bravestarr" sample above, Linka's cousin, Boris dies. The episode even calls it a "new designer drug."
- The G.I. Joe Very Special Episode The Greatest Evil featured a drug known as "Sparkle" which was sparkly red in color. The episode did go some way further than most of its type, however, in displaying relatively realistic effects of its use; one character was hospitalized with an overdose. At the end of the episode, the villainous drug-dealing Headman is unambiguously killed when he accidentally overdoses on his own drug, a rare moment for an episode of the type.
- Of course, the message of said episode is a little lost when you consider that the main plot suggests that drug dealers were a greater threat than heavily armed international terrorists, for whom Even Evil Has Standards, leading to the Strange Bedfellows situation of teaming up with the good guys.
- Actually, Fridge Brilliance saves the day here. If you wanted to take over the world, would you want the world to be a bunch of strung out junkies?
- Yes, It'd be easier.
- Of course, the message of said episode is a little lost when you consider that the main plot suggests that drug dealers were a greater threat than heavily armed international terrorists, for whom Even Evil Has Standards, leading to the Strange Bedfellows situation of teaming up with the good guys.
- In The Spectacular Spider-Man, the series pays homage to the storyline about Harry Osborne's drug addiction in the comics by using the Psycho Serum "Globulin Green".
- Which has the fortunate side-effect of merging two of Harry's biggest storylines, his drug addiction and his eventual becoming of the Green Goblin (which is alluded to in the series, as he is originally thought to be the Green Goblin before its revealed Norman's been manipulating Harry into taking the fall for him. Besides making the Harry story tighter it also makes the reveal of Norman Osborn being the Green Goblin a genuine shock for the first time in over forty years!)
- In Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Mira becomes addicted to phasing through radiation, because as we all know, radiation gives you superpowers! However, it also apparently gives you withdrawal, unkempt hair, and a really creepy voice.
- Batman Beyond did a story about steroid use in athletics without using the word "steroids". They were "slappers" and turned out to contain the Venom used by Bane. The effects of Venom, of course, are much more disturbing than those of steroids.
- Batman Beyond loved this trope. Splicers used animal mutagens to make a drug-like culture (no adverse or overt addictive side-effects were shown, but the Splicers were portrayed as being deviant and intrinsically more confrontational) and total-immersion Virtual Reality (basically computer-generated euphoric hallucinations) was portrayed as being very addictive, with catastrophic side effects inevitably resulting from prolonged use. Both episodes were very dark and laced with Nightmare Fuel, particularly the Splicer episode, which culminated with Batman defeating the bad guy by splicing him over and over again with different animals until the villain had a Superpower Meltdown.
- Stimutacs, from the Sealab 2021 episode of the same name, are a fictional drug derived from the venom of the fugu invented by Sparks to make an assload of cash. Hilarity Ensues.
Marco: I have the strength of a bear that has the strength of two bears!
- An episode of ABC's version of Doug had a tobacco analogue called Nic-Nacs, which could cause people's mouths to freeze up.
- In an episode of Harvey Birdman, Birdman became addicted to a tanning cream that gives him massive boosts of energy because he's solar powered. It showed him selling all of his stuff to get more and end up getting a sort of intervention.
- Bender from Futurama loves to smoke and drink, but that's okay since he's a robot. Robots can, however become addicted to electricity, as Bender did in "Hell is Other Robots". It eventually caused him to be drug to Robot Hell...
- Metalocalypse had "Totally Awesome Sweet Alabama Liquid Snake", a drug that would get you "so high your brain will blow chunks into the Milky Way." It has no effect on Pickles.
Pickles: I grew up smokin' government weed everyday, you know...
- The Smurfs episode "The Lure Of The Orb" hides a story of the effects of drug addiction behind the use of a magic orb that's supposed to give enlightened inspiration to whoever uses it.
- The My Little Pony special "Escape from Katrina" features a Catgirl witch named Katrina who was addicted to a powerful Psycho Serum called "Witchweed Potion", and tried to enslave some of the ponies into gathering the ingredients so she could make more. She eventually kicks the habit and makes a Heel Face Turn.
- On Ovide and the Gang a.k.a. Ovide Video, there was a certain flower that, when sniffed, would make anybody extremely happy and relaxed. As in, very mellow, laid-back, and agreeable. The villain of the show hated the flowers, as he didn't like getting along with others, but many episodes ended with him being forced to take a sniff. So in a nutshell, all the good guys on the show would sniff a flower to get high, and the villain didn't want to but was usually coerced into doing it. On a kid's show.
- It is implied in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic (specifically, Over A Barrel) that salt acts like alcohol for ponies.
A pony gets thrown out of a saloon called "The Salt Lick"
- In Clone High, Jack Black expy Johnny Hardcore comes to the school to warn the students about the dangers of "doing raisins." Reverse psychology drives them all to try it of course. Which is exactly what the council of raisins wanted in order to sell more, although this example of Fantastic Drug is an aversion because the entire buzz they give is nothing more than a placebo effect.
Abe: Hm. I don't really feel anything... Well, I have a strong constitution, so I don't really I CAN TASTE THE SUN!!!
- There have been a number of cases where jokes from comedy and Internet hoaxes have been taken seriously: cake, bananadine, and jenkem (supposedly a fadding drug among teens, created by storing raw sewage in a plastic bag for a week or so) have each raised their share of moral panic before people realized they were fake.
- The latest of these would be strawberry Quik-flavored meth.
- On surveys about school environments, students will sometimes be asked how many times in the past thirty days they've taken Panda B; there is no such drug, and if someone says they've taken it, their survey answers can be disregarded because they're obviously lying.
- Not our Joseph Stalin, but still a bad guy