Star Trek: Naked and Drugged…

In ‘The Naked Now’ the crew of the Enterprise does everything but toss a basketball between screenshots that culminates with Picard pointing a suave finger into the camera while crooning, “Just say no!”  This tacit message is ill-fitting as the backdrop to this medical-drama.  Its idealistic message about the evils of intoxicants would provide for a more compelling argument if they were ingested as willingly as was the drugs society ingests.

Click here for DS Palmer’s novel “St. Bart’s High: Clash of the Classes”. 

In a not-so-subtle remake of an episode from the original Star Trek series, the Enterprise is summoned to a ship which has been sending out peculiar signals while it observed a collapsing star.  When it arrives a seductive female voice expresses excitement that some ‘pretty boys’ may be joining what was described by Data as a ‘wild party’.  Indeed, when beamed over the away team discovers all sorts of adult goings-on having been accomplished.  This was best illustrated when Geordi LaForge investigated a room that was covered in ice with many naked, though dead bodies.  Upon opening a door within the room he is seemingly innocently contacted by another body.

It is discovered that such contact was not innocent when LaForge becomes belligerent back on the Enterprise.  It is determined that he is acting intoxicated, though he is showing no physical signs of drunkenness.  He begins touching and contaminating other crewmates who offer a wide variety of drunken symptoms.  Tasha Yar is a needy/sexy drunk.  Deanna Troi is an emotional drunk.  Picard and Beverly Crusher are giddy/star-crossed drunks.

The reason for this is discovered by searching the history of the Enterprise.  Riker, Data and Picard learn that while monitoring the break-up of a planet, “Huge shifts in gravity…that somehow resulted in complex strings of water molecules that acquired carbon from the body and acted on the brain like alcohol…” were making James T Kirk’s Enterprise behave similarly.  An antidote based on the one used on the previous Enterprise is quickly produced, though without the hoped for results.

At this point the overarching message to stay away from drugs takes hold.  The crew begins inserting themselves into situations that jeopardize their safety and others’ as they endure their state of intoxication.  While so inebriated, the star they had assumed monitoring collapses and a giant piece of it makes a path for the ship.  With drunks having commandeered the engine room and nearly all of the crew out of its sober mind, one can easily plug in any of the traditional War on Drug messages: ‘Don’t Drink and Drive’, ‘Get High on Life, Not Drugs’ and (fittingly) ‘Shoot for the Stars, Not Your Arms’.  Indeed, showing the effects that such indulgences have on a person, and a group of people by association it is clear that the use of those chemicals should be questioned.

Click here for DS Palmer’s novel “St. Bart’s High: Clash of the Classes”. 

As far as a pro-Drug War crusade, though, the argument is lacking.  The key differences between contemporary drug use and that of the Enterprise crew are willingness and accountability.  While the ship’s medical staff could find no physical reason for it, this was a representation of a contracted sickness because of the unwilling way the crew was afflicted.  Such makes Picard’s closing statement of, “I think we should end up with a fine crew, if we avoid temptation,” bizarre.  Was it a reference to what had happened when they were forced into temptation?  Or just a half-swing at a moral for those left in the 20th century?

Such is fine advice for today.  But wisdom does not always demand to be transitioned into law.  And because of that Picard’s wisdom should remain as such.  So many laws already exist on the books to prevent anyone and everyone if they suffer from any sort of malevolence or negligence.  The War on Drugs is just doubling down on statutes against theft, or assault, or even reckless driving that already exist.  And since those mishaps would occur more frequently if contemporary man suffers from intoxication (as the inebriated state is broached willingly), then those laws will damn him.  Rather, the Enterprise suffered from bad luck, not temptation.  And bad luck is not illegal in any state.  Nor should it be…


Read Star Trek the Next Generation Episode 1:1, Fair point and Syria

Contact DS Palmer at

Click here for DS Palmer’s novel “St. Bart’s High: Clash of the Classes”. 


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