Drug use in movies is usually seen as anything from being harmless and ‘natural’ as touted by those that smoke marijuana in their own time, or harmful and essentially bad for your health but still something that people do because the movie calls for it. A good example of this is the above character, Vincent Vega, who was a heroin user/addict in the movie Pulp Fiction. Now being that heroin is something that can be snorted, smoked, or injected, it’s kind of odd that Uma Thurman’s character would begin to suffer the moment that she snorts Vincent’s stash, as was seen in the movie. This was due to a serious overdose since Mia had been snorting cocaine earlier in the day and it does sound as though the ‘heroin’ that Vincent had on him was a very strong batch. But more to the point, the drugs that the actors are taking in copious amounts in the movies and on TV are typically items that can be ground up into white powder and are virtually harmless unless one happens to have an allergy, or are derived from other sources that are non-addictive and therefore aren’t going to cause any problems. Plus, the needles that are used for shooting up are retractable and in some cases are filled with fluid to make it look real. If the actors were really shooting up or snorting or smoking one can imagine that there’d be a lot more problems in Hollywood than there typically are.
Drinking is about the same on sets since there are a lot of different ways to make counterfeit drinks and drugs. They’re not always going to taste nice, but they’ll get the job done from a visual standpoint. For instance, when John Belushi appeared to down an entire fifth of Jack Daniels in Animal House a lot of us were likely impressed, until we grew up or read about it and realized that while a fifth of whiskey isn’t bound to be fatal over a period of time or even all at once. It can lead to some serious complications since that consuming that much alcohol in a matter of only seconds would be enough to incapacitate a lot of people and possibly cause a serious case of alcohol poisoning in those that are inexperienced drinkers. But needless to say, the whiskey was replaced by iced tea, which is easy enough to chug so long as it’s not too sweet or bitter. Drugs such as cocaine and heroin are usually glucose powder or B-12 or something similar, stuff that can be chopped up, liquefied, snorted, and causes no adverse affects. Ecstacy cigarettes are herbal cigarettes that have no nicotine and don’t cause addiction but are said to be very relaxing. The rest, meaning the effects that you see in the movies, that’s all acting. Likely as not the actors will do what they can, ask who they can, in order to get the act down and make it as real as is possible no matter if it’s the cool and calm feeling of being high, or the cracked out and anxious feeling that might be remembered from Scarface when Tony Montana takes a noseful of a small mountain of white powder.
Drug use has been denounced in a lot of different ways when it comes to entertainment despite the apparent glorification of it. From movies such as Dazed and Confused to Half Baked to Pulp Fiction and Requiem for a Dream, there are those that would appear to be taking drugs in some form and suffering no ill consequences for them, but then again in every movie there’s usually a lesson to be learned relating to drugs in some way. Keep in mind that Dazed and Confused the star quarterback couldn’t drink, smoke, or do anything too stupid if he wanted to play on the team, though he ended up rebelling and doing what he wanted anyway. In Half Baked Thurgood had to quit smoking if he wanted to stay with his dream girl, in Pulp Fiction Mia overdosed and nearly died, and in Requiem for a Dream Jared Leto’s character ended up having part of his arm amputated after it turned black and started to rot. In other words, drug use in the movies sometimes doesn’t appear to come with any consequences, but the truth of it is that used irresponsibly and in a way that can cause harm, any drug can be seen as bad. The fact that they’re still part of everyday entertainment is hard for some people to grasp, but if those same people want realism in their entertainment and not some fantasy where the worst thing people do is drink and abuse each other, then there have to be ways that the actors can simulate said acts without bringing any actual harm to themselves.
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