Pill Chic–Cool Or Just Plain Messed Up?

When it comes to fashion, I adore the subversive. Black leather and studs, gun print dresses, safety pins, you name it — I’ve worn it and loved it. So it’s perhaps hypocritical of me, but I have to draw the line at this “cheeky” pharmaceutical trend.Actually, it’s not a new fad, per se. A few seasons back Chanel churned out all manner of pill accessories, and it’s kind of been going strong since. But this weekend I was checking out all the cute stuff at New York’s Oak boutique, and came across this $224 Cast of Vices Vicodin necklace, and I thought, “Really? This is still going on?” Because even if it’s meant to be ironic and edgy, the fact is that there are an inordinate amount of people working in fashion — really, in terms of who might spend $200 on this very necklace, the target audience for this item — who are addicted to pharmaceutical drugs, and it seems kind of wrong to glamorize the practice.

Last year, my friend Joshua Lyon wrote the book Pill Head: The Secret Life of a Painkiller Addict. While he might disagree with me about the necklace — hell, I think he’d love one of his own — he certainly can attest to the fact that especially in the fashion (and publishing) industries, pill abuse is rampant. It even seems like the chic thing to do — fabulous fashion editors and designers will joke about how much they need a Xanax and how they wouldn’t dream of trying to fall asleep without an Ambien. Tough day at work? A glass of wine and a Vicodin makes it easy to wind down. Need to be up, up, up for a 15-hour photo shoot? Try some Ritalin. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to get all judge-y here or anything. But believe me when I say that I have seen firsthand just how ugly these seemingly “glamorous” addictions can get.

So I guess I’m just perplexed as to how, after all the attention given to how destructive prescription pill abuse is in this country in general (hell, Oprah has even devoted airtime to the subject), how trendy lines can still be making fashionable pill paraphernalia? It just seems like glorification. Maybe I’m overreacting, but for all the people out there struggling with addiction — whatever industry you work in — a Vicodin necklace is anything but cool.