Queen’S Gambit Vitamins

Are The Green “Tranquility” Pills Real?

It became hugely popular in the 1960s, when The Queen’s Gambit is set, and was packaged in two-toned green capsules similar to Xanzolam; in fact, at one point, when Beth is in Mexico City for a chess tournament and has run out of Xanzolam, she is given Librium at a local pharmacy. After being patented in 1958 and approved for medical use in 1960, Librium was prescribed liberally as a cure for anxiety, insomnia, and withdrawal symptoms. This widespread usage came to a head in the mid-1970s, when the DEA instated stricter regulations for Librium due to its overprescription and high potential for misuse.
(Image credit: KEN WORONER / NETFLIX).

Where Did The Idea For Beth’S Addiction Come From?

In an interview with The New York Times in 1983, Tevis described how writing about Beth’s substance abuse helped him address his own experiences with drug use. That’s where Beth’s drug dependency comes from in the novel,” Tevis said.
“Writing about her was purgative. There was some pain—I did a lot of dreaming while writing that part of the story. Per the American Addiction Centers, “As with many drugs that have psychoactive effects, people quickly began to note the euphoria that resulted from taking these common medicines.
Whether through this recreational abuse or through abusing the drugs for their treatment effects, benzos have the potential to cause tolerance, dependence, and addiction.”. A 2018 report from BuzzFeed News alleged that among the abuses of many orphanages in the U.S. And Canada throughout the middle of the 20th century was the common use of intravenous sedatives to keep children calm. Additionally, several reports released in the last few years have found that orphanages in countries including Russia, Ukraine, and Romania have used powerful drugs to sedate their wards for many decades past the point in The Queen’s Gambit in which Beth’s Kentucky orphanage is ordered to stop doing so.
And as recently as 2018, a federal judge confirmed that government officials had been forcibly injecting tranquilizers into migrant children being held at the border in facilities as family separations continue. The judge ordered the officials to stop administering the psychotropic drugs without parental consent, except in emergency cases.

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What Are The Green Pills At The Orphanage?

The staff calls them “vitamins” and gives one to every child daily.
They aren’t vitamins, but actually tranquilizers that have a drowsy effect. When Beth first takes one, it causes her to stumble around. However, the medication reappears later when Beth’s adoptive mother has her own prescription, and Beth finds herself again relying on the green pills.

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While Beth’s reactions to the sedatives initially seem quaint, it soon becomes clear that the child has gotten hooked. Soon after her arrival, the orphanage stops administering the green “vitamins” after they are banned for their habit-forming tendencies—but by then Beth is experiencing withdrawal symptoms. After that stunt, the pills leave Beth’s life for years; she may never have encountered them again if it weren’t for her stepmother, Alma Wheatley (Marielle Heller), and her need for “tranquility medicine” to ease the pain of her unfulfilled artist dreams: She has Beth refill a prescription for none other than familiar green Xanzolam, which helps “even out” both mother and daughter in different ways.
While the name Xanzolam is fictional, the pill is clearly intended to be a stand-in for real-life benzodiazepines, tranquilizer drugs that act on the brain and central nervous system in order to reduce anxiety, soothe insomnia, and (ironically) treat withdrawal symptoms. Patented in 1958 and approved for medical use in 1960, it was the first benzo to be synthesized.

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