eyes on drugs meme: pictures of people eyes on various drugs

Image via Vice/Reddit

This is what your eyes look like on drugs, and it’s a new meme

This is what your eyes look like ... on memes.


Jay Hathaway

Internet Culture

Posted on Apr 21, 2017   Updated on May 24, 2021, 4:52 pm CDT

In 2014, Vice published an article called “Here’s What Your Eyes Look Like When You Take Different Drugs.” As an excuse to run a bunch of photos of people under the influence, they called a hospital and asked how the human eye reacts to different narcotics. Disappointingly, Vice learned there’s no real way to tell what someone’s on by reading their eyes.

But the photos of eyes with the names of drugs over them were amusing, though, and now they’re a meme.

The meme always starts with the same three images from the Vice piece—cocaine, marijuana, and beer—and a fourth photo is added as a punchline. In the original iteration of the meme, the punchline was “dick.” Sure, it’s a juvenile sex joke, but it opened everyone’s eyes (sorry) to the potential of this template.

cocaine marijuana beer dick eyes meme
via me.me

Now Reddit’s r/dankmemes subreddit is full of good eye memes. Basically, just take anyone who’s metaphorically high on something, and add it to the bottom of the stack. YouTuber Filthy Frank has an infamous prank that involves eating ravioli out of his shirt pocket in public. This is what his eyes look like on ravioli:

eyes on drugs meme ravioli version

And here’s Karl Marx, high on seizing the means of production:

eye meme with karl marx and the means of production

And Carl Wheezer from the oft-memed cartoon Jimmy Neutron, when he’s on croissants:

eyes meme with jimmy neutron croissant boy

The eyes format is a sort of cousin to an optically-themed meme, Expanding Pupil, which features the tagline “the pupil of your eye can expand as much as 50% when looking at something you love.” The 4-panel template included a space to paste in the beloved thing of your choice. Here’s an example:

expanding pupil star wars meme
Know Your Meme

But the “eyes on drugs” meme doesn’t have to be about something you love, or even something you’re high on. You can find another connection between your punchline and cocaine. Here’s one example that references the cartoon The Fairly Oddparents, and the dad character’s hatred of his neighbor Dinkleberg. On Reddit, it was headlined “some things just ruin your life.”

fairly oddparents dinkleberg eye meme

The creative possibilities are boundless. After United Airlines violently removed a passenger from a flight earlier this month, people added the man’s distraught face to the meme and slapped on the United logo. This is what a person’s eyes look like on United:

eyes drugs meme united airlines edition
via me.me

Like all good templates, it’s also being used to call back to other memes and fuel internet culture’s tendency toward endless recycling. Here’s a pairing with a big hit from earlier this year, the “I see you’re a man of culture as well” meme:

man of culture version of the eyes meme

And here’s the “It is Wednesday, my dudes” frog when he sees that it is Wednesday:

eyes meme with Wednesday my dudes frog

It’s not clear why a years-old Vice article suddenly inspired a meme (maybe it has to do with the weed holiday, 4/20?) but it has all the signs of a template that will stick around for a while and may even be picked up by mainstream “normies” on Facebook. It’s very flexible and has a low barrier to entry (all you need is one punchline or pop culture reference and the barest sliver of Photoshop skill) and the original joke combined two perennially viral topics: sex and drugs. If you’re looking for a template that will make dank meme nerds’ pupils dilate by as much as 55 percent, look no further.

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*First Published: Apr 21, 2017, 6:00 am CDT