Not only are a surprisingly high number of celebrities addicted to drugs or alcohol, but Hollywood seems to have a love for making movies about drugs. You’d think, considering the former, that these movies would be pretty accurate, but the truth is there a lot of things that filmmakers get wrong. Surely, it’s not that hard to do a little research, so why is this the case? The simple answer is that, in the end, movies are meant for entertainment and profit. Drug use in real life isn’t glamorous. It’s much more entertaining to watch the characters in Easy Rider do LSD and devolve into a sort of psychedelic orgy than to watch an actual user have a panic attack in the corner. Sadly, unless the film in question is a documentary, the producers aren’t always interested in the truth, because the truth can be boring. Here are a few things about drug use that movies usually get wrong.

Everyone has huge pupils. In the movie Requiem for a Dream, there’s a scene with a close up of a character’s pupils expanding until the eye is almost solid black. It’s a striking sight, but the problem is that the character is using heroin. There are drugs out there that make the pupils dilate, but heroin isn’t one of them. When people are high on heroin – and codeine, methadone, and morphine – their pupils constrict to pinpoints.

Truth serum is a magical drug that will make someone reveal their deepest, darkest secrets. So-called truth serum is actually sodium pentothal, a barbiturate typically used in anesthesia, and while it can loosen your tongue, you’re just as likely to confess to cheating on a test in third grade as you are to whatever an interrogator is trying to get out of you. It also leaves people very open to suggestion, so the “truth” that you reveal might well be whatever the people asking the questions wanted you to say.

Cocaine can make sex amazing. Actually, cocaine restricts blood vessels, which can make it hard for men to keep an erection. It also tends to dry out the vagina.

WHAT HOLLYWOOD GETS WRONG ABOUT DRUGS

Stabbing someone in the heart with a needle full of overdose-reversing drugs is the best way to save them. There’s really no reason to do this instead of injecting the medicine intravenously, which will circulate it through the body just as fast. Also, stabbing someone in the heart is a pretty surefire way to nick something you shouldn’t and cause them to bleed to death.

Chugging a pot of coffee will make you sober up if you’ve been drinking. Not so. It takes a few hours for your body to metabolize alcohol, and coffee isn’t going to speed the process up. What it might do is make you feel like you’re more sober than you really are, which is dangerous because you might decide you’re perfectly fine to drive. 

If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504.