Prescription Pain Pills spilling out of a bottle

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TikTok’s ‘perc dance’ trend mocks the opioid epidemic

'Percs aren’t a fun and trendy game.'


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on Feb 8, 2023   Updated on Feb 9, 2023, 7:35 am CST

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Terms for prescription opioids, like “oxy,” “percs,” “smack,” and “sizzurp,” pop up in rock, rap, and hip hop songs all the time—so much so that we become immune to hearing them. And YN Jay’s 2020 song, “Perc & Sex” is no exception

In it, YN Jay discusses having sex while using Percocet, and select lyrics have given the song a 2023 resurgence on TikTok

“How the fuck did you pull up to the motherfuckin’ party and forget the Percs?” the rapper says in the song’s first verse. In the chorus, he describes taking different doses of Percocet.

The “perc dance” trend is set to those lyrics, and shows TikTokers lip syncing to the song and dancing as if they are under the influence of Percocet. Viral videos of the trend even include young children and pets dancing to YN Jay’s voice. 

Why it matters

Courtney Dorritie, a TikToker with over 275,000 followers who shares her experiences as an unhoused, sober New Yorker, provided vital context for the trend about the reality of “percs.” 

In a TikTok, she said that a friend recently overdosed and died because of the opioid, and calls the trend “insensitive to the heartbreak that surrounds addiction.” 

“Just a few days ago we laid on the floor together laughing and holding hands… Now I’ll never laugh with her again,” Dorritie wrote in the overlay text of her video. “Addiction is a disease that has taken EVERYTHING and everyone I love. It’s not a trend or a joke.”

And she’s right: Over 16,400 Americans died of an overdose of prescription opioids, like Percocet, in 2020. And in 2021, (prescription or illegal) opioid drug overdose was the cause of death for over 50,000 people. 

Dorritie spoke with the Daily Dot in 2022 about sharing her life on TikTok as a recovering addict. Speaking to the seriousness of addiction, she said that when she first got sober, her life “didn’t immediately turn around.” There were many elements of her life that had been affected by her drug use, about which she said she felt some shame

Getting your life back on track after drug addiction “is not like an immediate thing,” Dorritie told the Daily Dot in March 2022. “It does happen, eventually.” According to Dorritie’s recent TikToks, she’s currently living in a shelter in New York City.

“Percs aren’t a fun and trendy game,” Dorritie wrote in her TikTok, reminding viewers to “be safe” when using drugs. “Addiction is a lifelong disease that rips everything & everyone u love away from u in the blink of an eye.”

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*First Published: Feb 8, 2023, 6:00 am CST