Gas station drugs' outlandish claims are mostly half-baked
You've seen them before stashed behind the glass at your neighborhood corner store; those wildly colorful pills in delightfully tacky packages that promise everything from street legal highs, to a better night's sleep, to a longer-lasting and harder erection or any combination of the three.
There is a booming industry manufacturing and marketing these "supplements" that mimic the effects of street legal and pharmaceutical drugs to anyone desperate or shameless enough to throw down a few ducats on products with names like Bullet Proof -- a so-called male enhancement pill that promises increased sexual performance -- Go Pillz for increased energy, focus, memory and a better mood, and Lazy Cakes Relaxation Brownies, a product whose mascot is a glassy-eyed brownie that smiles at you from the package like a chocolate Tommy Chong.
While some of these "fake drugs" -- like a line of synthetic marijuana made illegal by the Drug Enforcement Agency earlier this month -- are created in laboratories to mimic the psychoactive effects of real drugs, many are just crammed full of high doses of legal vitamins. Often their manufacturers admit in small print somewhere on the packaging that their claims are unsupported by the Federal Drug Administration.
Yet, obviously, people are buying them, as evidenced by their omnipresence at gas stations, corner stores and head shops all over town. And while, unlike illicit drugs, you don't have to buy them from a guy named Snake whose dirty studio apartment is covered in black light posters of unicorns and Jim Morrison, something about purchasing them feels just as shady.
Over the weekend I decided to perform a very unscientific review of a handful of these products to see what they did, and to find out -- among other things -- if something I bought for $4 called "Dirty Dreamz" would actually help me "Sleep great and wake up totally satisfied," as promised.
Product: Bullet Proof
Packaging: A single bright red gel capsule visible through a clear plastic shield surrounded by bulls-eyes and bearing the slogan: "You will never miss your target."
Implied effect: Packaging promised Bullet Proof was "scientifically formulate for users to experience harder, firmer and longer lasting erections helping to increase sexual pleasure and performance."
Dosage: One gel cap.
Actual affect: Perhaps the only noticeable effect was the feeling of absolute humiliation while purchasing the product. The female clerk clearly did not believe my claims that I was purchasing the product for a story and understandably refused to make eye contact with me.
Despite taking the pill on an empty stomach as suggested I did not experience the 18 to 36 hours of promised effects. In fact, sadly, I did not experience anything despite thumbing through the Rihanna cover story in this month's issue of Rolling Stone while awaiting the pill to kick in.
Verdict: Ineffective. The $7.49 spent on Bullet Proof would have gone to better use, and probably produced better results had I just put it toward this month's high-speed Internet bill.
I recently saw a doctor being interviewed on TV about convenience store sexual enhancement drugs. He basically said if you try taking these it will probably be the last time you'll ever have an erection.
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