Code Book
Drugs Code Book

Drugs Code Book

Definition of Illegal Substances

Any direct depictions of drugs, drug use, drug paraphernalia, or drug transactions occurring in the scene. Drugs are considered illegal substances or medications abused. Also coded are drug references: “Let’s get high,” “That guy looks lifted,” etc.

Each drug that appears in the scene is also coded; this includes paraphernalia. Patients taking prescription pills non-recreationally do not count as drug content; however, a character who takes pills with alcohol is abusing the medicine and should be coded. Recreational use of medicine and overdosing are examples of abuse. Medical use is not to be coded. For example, exclude hospital patients or characters medications in their regular use (aspirin for headaches, oral contraceptives, or normal use of mood stabilizers).

Drug Scale:

1 = drug paraphernalia that does not indicate drug use; drug references
2 = drugs seen, bought, or sold, or implied consumption – paraphernalia indicates use
(i.e. used syringes or joint roaches indicate the use of drugs)
3 = drugs consumed, multiple drugs used, or heavy modeling (detail in actions)
4 = drug overdose or more than 3 people using drugs

Drug Consumption – Seen vs. Implied

Seen use of drugs entails any type of drug being actively consumed (i.e. characters can be seen inhaling, injecting, etc.). Implied use entails drug products being held or appearing in situations where they are being consumed, but the actual act of “drug use” is not directly shown on screen.

Anti-Drug Messages

Characters make statements telling others not to use drugs, either directly (“don’t use drugs”) or indirectly (“this is your brain on drugs”).

Refusal of Drugs

A character is offered drugs or presented with drugs and refuses to use them.

Drugs are Bought or Sold

An exchange of drugs for money, valuable items, services, or repayment of debt. Does not include scenes of drug smuggling for later sale, only cases where the direct transaction is shown or implied.

Character Overdoses or Dies

A character takes too many drugs, resulting in immediate physical harm (seizures, passing out) which may require medical attention or leads to injury or death.

Sexual Behavior and Drugs

Any sexual behavior, including kissing and sexual touching, taking place and accompanying illegal substances. Code this if any drugs were recently consumed (even if implied) prior to engaging in sexual behavior or if drugs/drug paraphernalia are present during the act. Code this even if the substance does not influence the sexual behavior.

Drug Locations

Code for drugs consumed in dwelling or non-dwelling location