Varaxamol was a prescription stimulant. When it first came out, the grapevine in the clubs and dance halls and exclusive retreats for devoted pharmaceutical recreationalists reported that Varaxamol (aka 'Purple Stallion', 'Big V', and a host of other pseudonyms) was cocaine in a pill form. Possibly the beta version of cocaine 2.0 with some bugfixes.
After the first few million hits had been purchased, word on the street said that, no, Varaxamol wasn't cocaine 2.0, it was what cocaine did on its days off. After a heady weekend of being snorted, smoked and injected, after a shitty day on the job with coworkers like meperedine, blackball, methamphatamine, or heroin, cocaine liked to unwind with its new buddy Varaxamol and really cut loose.
Coke had plenty of free time these days, what with being in semi-retirement. Coke had come back after the 1980's, had been so popular in London that Her Majesty's Narcotics Force attempted to impound the entire Thames for the street value of all the cocaine-impregnated urine samples flushed into it daily. Fish would swim into the English Channel and then hyperkinetically skim the water for thirty-six hours before dying of heart attacks, making fishing both easier and highly entertaining. Yes, there was a lot of blow going up English nasal cavities before Varaxamol.
Nowadays, any chemical that could be traced to some organic process was thought tainted, a crude Third-World drug undeserving of the name. It comes from a plant? Oh, how Twentieth Century. A general shunning of imperfect chemicals not obtained from a laboratory was the order of the day.
The American FDA pulled the plug on Varaxamol production, and once the formula was reverse-engineered free enterprise took root like a phenomenally high Adam Smith with nasal drip and fucked-up pupils. Thousands of tiny factories in basements and garages, each turning out a few thousand pills a day. The price was lower than alcohol at one point, low enough that schoolchildren could afford it.
Which was where the problems really started; nothing makes teenage life worse than piling all that angst and rage with a topping of chemically altered neurons misfiring and a heart rate of about three hundred beats a minute. The canonical image of the anti-Varaxamol movement was the photo of that fourteen-year-old kid, foam dripping from his mouth, a raging purple-veined hard-on bursting free of rent denim while he tried to rape a bronze statue on the Albert Memorial.
The police said he might have finished the deed, too, on account of his body temperature being that high. That was, they explained, why they needed to shoot him with the tranquilizer gun from the zoo. Twelve times.
Of course, when di-methyl-triptan and Brill and Inanna and Ribosyl came along, people decided that Varaxamol might be a minor vice in comparison.
(Copyright 2005, etc. etc. # of edits: 1. Just noodling with short pieces, but if the public wants something longer, just ask, dammit. Rules are as follows: if you liked it, post an encouraging comment and tell somebody about it. If you didn't like it, tell me what I can do to improve. Make with the typey. Now.)