Red sand is space cocaine laced with magic. For human’s without biotics, red sand acts as some sort of telekinetic powder, used to help the user red the minds of others. It is a huge hit among humans, like Paul Grayson from the novels.
In the Mass Effect universe (and with any other T and up rated games) the use and distribution habits of this drug isn’t really talked about, mostly just in passing when talking about drug dealers and slavers. How interesting would it be if you could have the option to choose to do the drug yourself as Commander Shepard?
How absurd would it be to talk about drugs and how they treat people in an adult-like manner? How refreshing would it be if drug users could have a way to help them with withdrawal or with a relapse?
For some, video games are a form of escapism, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from them. After all, Cooking Mama and Brain Age were big hits on the Nintendo DS.
To learn about drugs and why people take them, instead of shaming them for doing drugs, can start a very much needed conversation about how to help people on their road to recovery and the sometimes inevitable relapse.
Even the casual use of drugs should be talked about in video games and other forms of media to get rid of the stigma of drugs, while still letting media consumers the harms of these substances.
Video games, especially RPGs, would be a great way to help people understand addictions after years of propaganda. I mean, what better way to understand something than to make your main character the subject of trying to understand why they are an addict? Make it into a playable story.
Addiction is a disease that NEEDS to be talked about and handled with care, but with a firm hand, because addiction is such a difficult discussion.
By no means, am I trying to humanize drugs. After all, heroin deaths are on the rise in the eastern part of the United States. I’m trying to humanize the drug users that fall through the cracks because of addiction.
Video games get a bad reputation, so why not try to spin it?