Archive for July, 2016

Fictional Drugs in Famous Hollywood Movies Are Dangerously Familiar

Drugs can start a lively discussion from different vantage points. Should drugs be legalized with due process? Are drugs dangerous or are they just misunderstood? Is it possible to create one super drug to trump other drugs?

The list goes on and on and while some people tend to gravitate towards scientific research, a majority of society’s curiosity towards drugs is due to media, especially through movies. Some people are at awe with how a small pill can enhance performance by a thousand-fold, or marvel at how a laced drink can melt your inhibitions away.

Drug-related films have the tendency to exaggerate and highlight drugs as a component that has the ability to completely change who we are and how we do things. While it may seem attractive, the drugs featured in these films, though fictional, may have dangerous counterparts that exist in real life.

drug films brave new worldSoma (Brave New World, 1931)

In Brave New World, author Aldous Huxley introduces “Soma,” an antidepressant capable of causing hallucinations when taken at high enough quantities. It was used for a number of purposes, some being “religious services to crowd control.“ Depending on the dosage and the context it is taken in, “soma” can both be innocent and fatal at the same time.

A real world “soma” would be ketamine, an experimental antidepressant. Much like soma, ketamine, when taken at extremely high doses, can cause “strong visual and auditory hallucinations, and severe disassociation or detachment.” Its effects would be fatal if the doses go even higher.

drug films a clockwork orangeMilk Plus (A Clockwork Orange, 1962)

The ‘60s was the era of the drug movement, when LSD was what the eccentric youth used to transcend into peace and tranquility in order to gain a sense of understanding about the world and the status quo. Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange plays on this archetype by introducing Alex and Milk Plus. In the film adaptation of a published work by Stanley Kubrick, Alex and his friends drink Milk Plus, which is milk laced with drugs that bring on disturbingly violent behavior in order to restore a perceived sense of social order.

In real life, Milk Plus produces the same effects as alcohol. Intoxication of alcohol can reduce your self-consciousness and can bring forth aggressive behavior, which is intrinsic in some people.

drug films arrested developmentTeamocil (Arrested Development, “Best Man for the Gob”, 2004)

In Arrested Development, Tobias Fünke tries to get his wife Lindsay and his daughter Maeby back together for “Dr. Fünke’s 100% Natural Good-Time Family Band Solution.” Lindsay attempts to sing the jingle from a commercial from the nineties that revolved around a non-FDA approved pharmaceutical drug called “Teamocil.”

According to the advertisement, Teamocil can “boost camaraderie among people while lowering sex drives.” Ironically, the forced amity between them only drove Tobias’s family further away.

Used as experimental therapy for PTSD, MMDA has been known to boost camaraderie and to make people friendlier. However, whereas Teamocil lowers sex drive, MMDA raises it.

drug films limitlessNZT-48 (Limitless, 2011)

Eddie Morra is experiencing writer’s block while struggling to make a living in New York City. After his girlfriend leaves him, Eddie runs into his ex-wife’s brother who offers him an experimental performance enhancing drug known as NZT-48. Eddie then uses the drug to get over his writer’s block and, later on, acquires more NZT-48 to gain a fortune in the stock market. This then leads to addiction, which then transcends into time-slipping blackouts all of which Eddie has no memory of.

After this film was released, a lot of drugs have been marked to have the same effects. In addition, nootropics have become known as the secret weapon for the corporate climbers of today. Nootropics are “chemical supplements that claim to improve cognitive functions, increase alertness and strengthen memory and recall.” It can exist in stimulants such as amphetamine (Aderall) or caffeine.

drug films lucyCPH4 (Lucy, 2014)

Much like Limitless, this 2014 film revolves around Lucy, a young woman who accidentally takes high doses of CPH4, a drug known to unlock the full power of the human brain. She then experiences strengthened human abilities, which then transofrms to mental and physical powers and eventually leads her to acquiring telepathic abilities.

Though there are no known drugs that can unlock the full potential of the human brain to the point where we attain superhero-grade powers, an overdose of amphetamines may deliver the same feeling. When overdosed, amphetamines can increase body temperature, blood pressure, strange and repetitive behavior, realistic hallucinations and even premature death.

drug films looperDropper (Looper, 2012)

Joe is a hitman who is given victims from the future. Though this gives him an ample financial situation, his contract states that he will die in the line of duty. Distraught by this, he and his cohorts abuse a drug called “droppers” wherein it is ingested in the form of eye drops, which then leads to psychoactive properties. This is often taken in a social setting, like a club.

Though there are no known drugs that can get an individual high through the form of eye drops, it is quite synonymous to the social activity of vodka eyeballing. It is believed that the practice, which involves pouring an amount of neat vodka into the eye, causes people to get drunk faster. However, this practice is considered very dangerous because it can lead to people to be robbed of their sight.

Another real life counterpart to droppers is cocaine administered as eye drops for anesthetic purposes, though it is unlikely you can get high from it.

drug films 21 jump streetHFS and Wifi (21 Jumpstreet, 2012 and 22 Jumpstreet, 2014)

The Jumpstreet films were used as a commentary to focus on the growth of drug culture among the youth with synthetic or designer drugs as the main source of activity.

Designer drugs or synthetic drugs are drugs designed for medical uses. In short, they are the dupes to the authentic substances by changing the molecular make-up of an illegal drug and making it legal. According to, designer drugs are cheap and easy to get and it can also occur in a myriad of names such as bath salts or flakka. However, a molecular tweak to the drug can create a new drug with an entirely different psychoactive effect.

Poster image sources:

Scarlett Johansson Looks a Little Pale on ‘Lucy’ Poster

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