The costly addictions of Iron Man, Sherlock, and more

An interactive graphic from substance abuse recovery site Withdrawal.net shows the costs of being a famous fictional figure with a habit.

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'Addiction in Fiction' features 31 characters who should have just said 'No.' Withdrawal.net

It's hard being a metal-bending robot. Or a crime-solving genius. Or a damsel-in-distress-rescuing strongman. So sometimes, like live humans, fictional characters feel they need a little help to face life's challenges. And sometimes that help can come in the form of substances that cause serious harm. A bit of white powder here. A glug glug of beer there. In short, in fiction, there are often addictions.

A graphic released Tuesday by substance abuse recovery site Withdrawal.net rounds up 31 popular characters from movies and television and digs into their particular habits -- and how much they cost. It's fiction, but "the reality of substance abuse is brought to life every day" by these characters, the site argues, and so -- at least sometimes -- are the consequences.

Some of these characters grapple with substances that can cause grave problems in real life. Other "substances," like spinach, could be considered a healthy habit.

Even though Holmes wears a nicotine patch on the current BBC show "Sherlock," Withdrawal.net points out that he was found in a drug den in one episode, and estimates his rate of cocaine use as equivalent to about $480 per month.

Then there's Popeye, whose downing of cans of spinach with wild, one-eyed abandon (and what about that pipe, eh?) would cost him about $50 a month. Other offenders include Tony Stark aka Iron Man, whose booze habit they estimate at $1,200 per month; Bender from "Futurama," who guzzles about $54 of beer per month (somehow I doubt that factors in the rate of inflation and what prices would really be like in the 31st century); and Towelie from "South Park," whose continuous use of marijuana would cost about $1,350 per month.

When you visit the page, you not only get a quick overview of characters from shows like "Breaking Bad," "House of Cards," and "24," but if you hover over any of the images, you get a detailed look at how the researchers came up with the cost of their addictions.

Sometimes the costs are surprising, as in the case of Amy Burley, Jason Stackhouse's girlfriend from Season 1 of "True Blood." Her addiction to vampire blood -- with the street name "V" -- didn't cost her anything because she just kept a vampire chained up in the basement. Then again, she has an "RIP" over her image, a reminder that addiction can have a price even if your substance of choice is free.

About the author

Freelancer Michael Franco writes about the serious and silly sides of science and technology for Crave and other pixel and paper pubs. He's kept his fingers on the keyboard while owning a B&B in Amish country, managing an eco-resort in the Caribbean, sweating in Singapore, and rehydrating (with beer, of course) in Prague. E-mail Michael.

 

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