What Drug Names Mean To Me
Nomen est omen is Latin for, "Your name is your destiny," and I think that there is perhaps a special and purposeful moment when any drug is named. A drug is, at some point, christened like a child is christened and all the good fortune that is wished upon an infant is also wished upon a drug. Whether it's from the street or from the pharmacies, at some point there is the giving of a name to every substance. I realize that there is a chemical nomenclature involved in there as well, but it is bent in ways to make the name of the drug sweeter to the ear; give a drug a poetic and pleasant-sounding name and people will be more comfortable with taking the drug. Everything is in a name. Here's what some drug names mean to me, what the names evoke.
This one is pretty easy. It's practically a battle cry. Adderall!!!!!!!!! Sounds like you're saying "Add her all!" or "At her all!" which are all positive, productive, and encouraging things. The name makes me think of getting shit done. Like, here is a list of my shit I have to do to live. Let's get at this list. Add all the things on the list up. Add them all up. Add her all up. Adderall. Or it could be more like "At" as in "Get at it, kid," or "Get at her." Get at that shit and Get add er all. Take on the world! Take on all of it!
The name of this drug has always made total sense to me because, for me, it nails the buzz. For some people, pain-killers slow them down and make them groggy. I on the other hand, have one of those brains that caffeine has no effect on but that something like Percocet will wake up. "Perc" is obviously related to "perk" which has two definitions, both positive. "Perking up" is good and so is a "perk at your job." The end of the drug's name "cet" just sounds like "set," so together, you get all perked up and you're set.
To get the first and most obvious out of the way. "Val" brings to mind the words "valley" and also "valor" and also "value," which are all pretty nice things. The second part of the drug's name is very easy. Ium. Yum. So, you have Valium and it sounds nice and they make you feel nice and not unhappy. The word together is just such a phonetic piece of cherry pie that you'd be dumb not to start popping them if that need ever arises. Yum!
Obviously the person who does the naming was on top of things with this one. It is clearly the best drug name as of yet. Pretty sure they may have even thought up the name before they even invented the drug. Who wouldn't want to take something called "ecstasy"? Much better name than acid (the worst name for a drug that can actually be pretty great).
I know that MDMA are the initials of the chemical compound but it turned out, serendipitously to be a beautiful name for a drug. When you say MDMA it sounds like you're saying something pleasant in a foreign language. Like in a language between Italian and French and Japanese. Em dee em ay. Or Em dia may. Sounds like, in this hybrid of languages, that you might be saying, "He really loves you," or, "You'll see, life ends nicely."
This might be a little personal, but when I hear the word Xanax, I instantly think of Xanadu. Samuel Coleridge and his drugged out fugue, and that movie Olivia Newton-John did with ELO. What a combination.
Now for this one, the poets at the pharmaceutical companies got tricky with us. Say out loud the word as it is spelled. Go ahead, do it. Sounds unnatural, doesn't it? Is that how you hear people say it? No. They say, "Oxycotton." Your mouth automatically turns contin into cotton because, well it's easier. Cotton is soft and pillowy, much like the effect of the drug. Oxycotton may not be the name of this drug, but it's still a lovely name.
"Viking" would be the most obvious go-to in figuring this one out. A pill of great strength (Vikings are strong) to conquer the pains of your life. And then the "din" part of it could refer to the den where they hang out and feast after a great battle. This is a hue, totemic drug name.
This was named after the Greek mythological character Morpheus, the son of Hypnos, the Greek god of sleep. He is also the nephew of Hades and Persephone. Morpheus sends images and dreams or visions, and is responsible for shaping dreams, or giving shapes to the beings that inhabit dreams. Now, I know not everyone can be a Greek Mythology scholar like myself, but for those who are, it doesn't hurt that this drug you have been offered is named after a pleasant part of Greek mythology. If it sounds academic, it must be good for you.
Cody and Dean are ridiculous American guy names and this is a weird combination of the two. Maybe in America this is really reassuring, but in the UK it's an unnerving combo and I wouldn't trust it's new-money ways.
Well, heroin is undeniably a beautiful word. But heroin could be called TERR!BLESH!T and people would still be hooked to it.
Methadone is mainly used to help heroin addicts kick their habit. It is a "methad (method)" to help be "done" with heroin. Bit of stretch? Maybe, maybe not.
Acid confuses the shit out of me. Who in the hell gave LSD this terrible name and then perpetuated the use of it? LSD can be such an enlightening experience, but I guess people can also have "a bad one". Maybe this name is a warning of possible "bad ones". Acid. Just sounds like something I wouldn't want to do.
This is so pleasant sounding it doesn't even need to be dissected. Hell, it even works as a simple mantra you can say while trying to go to sleep without any drugs.
At first, this word looks like a misspelling of saliva which is just kind of gross. But on closer inspection it appears as something similar to a salvation, or a salve. Something of a balm, a healing thing.
These are just a few examples. The possibilities are endless. Think Lunesta, Ambien, Wellbutrin (so obvious), Vivalan, Concerta, Focalin, Endep, Adapin, and on and on. I'm actually surprised that the FDA hasn't kept the pharmaceutical companies from giving drugs such pleasant sounding names. You know how they took Joe Camel away from the kids who might have potentially one day been Camel smokers? Well I'd rather take a nice dose of Soma than be a smoking camel.