After the Great Nuclear War, many recreatonal drugs fell out of use as their ingredients fell out of production, but drug use in of itself has skyrocketed with many nations not having the man power to regulate them or not caring to.
In the Belt, many nations have outlawed recreational drugs, and the trade has been forced underground. Excluded from this is tobacco, alcohol, and caffeinated beverages and foods. It is notable that marijuana is legal in North Ohio.
New Recreational Drugs
After the war, some new recreational drugs have been invented in the Belt, all of them being highly illegal. They go by many street names, and come in many forms. Here are two prominent examples:
When injected, Swill acts as a stimulant, increasing circulation, brain activity, and activating fight-or-flight. As a side affect, the user becomes more easily angered. In addition, Swill makes a user's strength and pain resistance seem greater as the body's self imposed limits are removed (often causing injury)
The adrenal glands of cows and pigs (byproducts that aren't needed for food) are harvested and processed, and a slurry of adrenal hormones (namely adrenaline and noradrenaline) are extracted, and prepared in a neutral saline solution. This is then injected with syringes for its desired affect.
Swill is very popular in Kenosha and Shytown, where it is not illegal.
A barbiturate, Sandman induces feelings of euphoria, drowsiness, and reduces inhibitions. Its is immensely popular, as its therapeutic dose is far below its toxic dose, and resistance to the drug builds slowly.
In order to make Sandman; human or animal urine has the urea extracted from it via evaporation and successive filtration with ethanol (usually moonshine). This Urea is used with diethyl malonate (extracted from grapes and strawberries) to produce sodium diethylbarbiturate, a slightly bitter white crystal powder. This can then be imbibed directly, added to a smoking mixture, or even dissolved into a drink, a practice known as nodding, in reference to the phrase "nodding off".
Sandman is the drug of choice for many overworked North Ohioans, and the trade has spilled over into Indiana and Kent-Lambton.
Most drugs are entirely legal in Colorado, for the sheer fact that they cant be regulated effectively. Tobacco is not normally grown in this region (as it depletes soil fairly quickly), but marijuana is common (as well as for the added benefits of growing hemp), and alcohol is pervasive.
When the Navajo migrated into northwestern Colorado, they imported much of their culture, such as their language, religious ceremony, but notably here, two psychedelic plants.
Datura is a flowering plant related to Deadly Nightshade. Its fruits are harvested for their delirium inducing properties, being a powerful hallucinogen. Navajo, having deep cultural knowledge of Datura properties, are able to give proper doses. Without this knowledge, improper doses can very quickly lead to death or sickness. Many local settlements have adopted the Datura for religious ceremony, or even for recreation in some cases, though the latter is fairly rare (as dosage is complicated).
The Peyote cactus, native to Chihuahua Mexico, is a small cactus that natural produces mescaline, a hallucinogen. While among the Navajo it is commonly used for religious ceremony, the locals adopted it for recreational use, and it remains highly popular.
In the American Deep South, tobacco and coca are the two most popular (non-alcohol) drugs. Tobacco in North America is near-exclusively grown here, as elsewhere it depletes the soil, and with fewer ports, is not as profitable, lowering its cultivation in those regions. As such, the Deep South has a veritable monopoly over it's production.
A new cash crop, the coca plant (Erythroxylum novogranatense), has been imported into the region as well. It is commonly used as a medicine for treating fatigue, hunger, and thirst. In addition, it is highly nutritious, containing nutrients such as calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. It is imbibed as a tea, or chewed directly.
In Northern Europe, the majority of recreational drugs have fallen out of use, as the War largely destroyed their trade. However, in search of highs and euphoria, creative addicts have created new concoctions.
In Northern Europe, smoking is an incredibly common cultural practice, with many business dedicated to providing relaxing places to enjoy a pipe. However, with tobacco being unavailable, smoking is now accomplished with other plants.
“Krood” (from the Dutch “kruid”, meaning “spice”) is a smoking blend. It is created from several wild herbs, with the herb Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) forming the main ingredient. Bearberry is a plant endemic to Eastern North America and the northern latitudes of Europe. Other ingredients include Laurel, Honeyweed, Sumac, and Raspberry Leaves.
As Bearberry is never smoked alone, it’s precise effects are not precisely known, though feelings of general euphoria and “stillness”.
In Southern Europe, the majority of drugs are actually produced in Northern Africa, and then imported discreetly through Mediterranean ports. Many of these drugs are more "traditional" than before the war.
A plant native to Northern Africa; the Blue Lotus or Nymphaea caerulea, contains the active alkaloid apomorphine. The alkaloid can be be absorbed by smoking the dried flowers, or by steeping them into a tea. It is common in Italy, Southern France, and Spain, where the Mediterranean facilitates its spread.
When imbibed, it creates feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and relief of pain.