Drugs are bad. Right? Well, most drugs are bad. (The one in Limitless doesn't seem to be too terrible if you discount the fact that it turns you into a enemy of Robert De Niro.) Actually the forced prosecution of victimless crimes generates a criminal class where there need not be one, that also taxes the state, where resources could be better spent on education, which has proven time and again to be a better deterrent from drugs than criminal charges.
Wow, that got way out of hand. Anyway, drugs are bad and sometimes people want to put them in their stories. But sometimes all the real drugs (and the wonders that they do) don't add enough to the storylines so screenwriters and authors have to make up some new ones. Here we have the six best of the fake drugs.
Soma - Brave New World
The original, created by the lovable (one would assume) Aldous Huxley. Basically, it's a government sanctioned hallucinogen that kept the people in line. It really took that Marx maxim "religion is the opiate of the masses" to a new level considering it pretty much replaced religion. A fair trade if I ever heard one, but it also took over any sense of purpose a person might potentially feel. Bummersville. It's probably one of the few instances where just because everyone else is doing it, doesn't mean you should too. Plus, it enhanced the free and recreational sex everyone was having. Why was this a bad future again? Oh yeah, alcoholic babies. But it sure made high school English fun, no?
Felix Felicis - Harry Potter
My favorite of these fake drugs, this potion was introduced in the sixth Harry Potter book and turns fortune your way. Also known as Liquid Luck, it gently nudges you in the way of lady luck. So it won't drop a fortune in your lap, it'll just help you guess the lottery numbers. Highly addictive, difficult to produce, rarest of rare, and never quite works in the way you expect it to. Sure, its a pretty big deus ex machina (and not Harry's first), but who cares.
NTZ - Limitless
It'll turn you into Bradley Cooper! In a nutshell, it unlocks your brain and you realize your full potential. But I guess there is a reason we don't use all of our brains: we'd go crazy (good looking! But that might only apply to Cooper). Also, it's an interesting note that of all the drugs on the list, the others are modifiers: they add or subtract something to you. Whereas NTZ (the name of the drug) only opens up your natural ability. Interesting bit of note. Perhaps its not the drug then that destroys you. It's your self. Or Robert De Niro's horrible acting.
V - True Blood
In True Blood, Vampire blood is the new crack/meth of the world. It plays a big part in the show as its acquisition is the center of several plots throughout. V represents the drug war in contemporary America. Its uses seem fun in moderation, but the prohibition of it causes much of its conflict. Actually, it seems characters used it subtly. WHAT? True Blood being subtle? No way. Anyway, the stuff is dangerous to posses, acquire, and consume, but it can lead to Lizzy Caplan naked so... WORTH IT.
Quietus - Children of Men
Time for some depressing drugs! Quietus is a relief, but it totally kills you. And not like in a bummer way, no, it actually ends your pathetic life. But considering the world was facing human extinction in Children of Men, it seemed like a pleasant enough option. Women weren't having babies, the youngest person in the world was 18, so you might as well pop a pill and end it all. My only question is how do you profit off something that is basically shrinking your market? I guess every successful suicide shows that your product works, but I bet that was a grim marketing meeting.
Spice - Dune
Spice pretty much gives you super powers despite being worm turds (whoops, sorry for the spoiler). By mixing the new world reliance on a single substance (oil! But a drug oil!) with the old world modifier (spice!), Dune found its powerful drug. Sure, it could cause you to see into the future, navigate your star ship going light speed, propel you to become a prophet and make you super strong. That's all fine and dandy, but the real beauty is it made your food taste great. Yum!