What are Those Green Pills from The Queen's Gambit?
By admin - November 19, 2020

Netflix’s new mini-series The Queen’s Gambit has already won the hearts of viewers and once again drawn public attention to the chess battles that followed the Cold War. The series shows the world in which chess is one of the biggest sporting events in the world and where characters are born and dreams come true. However, in addition to this we clearly see the inner pains of the characters and their emotional or physical struggle, which plays a key role in the series.

The main conflict of The Queen’s Gambit between the main character and his opponents does not develop at the chess table. Beth Harmon’s biggest challenge is her addiction. At the orphanage he was given daily green medicine, the harmful use of which he soon became accustomed to. This is what allowed him to imagine chess games through hallucinations and refine his own playing style. Later, similar attitudes follow him into adulthood, and soon alcohol or other drugs are added. Nevertheless, it is not entirely clear to the viewer what exactly the medication is talking about.

Getty Images/NBCUniversal/NBC

At the beginning of the series, it seems that this medicine is labeled “Xanzolam”, but it is not a real medicine. Later, while in Mexico, Betty seeks out a specific drug, librium (in response to which she is given chlordiazepoxide), a real benzodiazepine. This medication is used to treat anxiety and severe alcohol withdrawal (alcohol dependence). Fictitious xanzolam and real librium describe the popular antidepressants of that period. As we learn from the TV series, the orphanage management is forced to stop the practice of giving “tranquilizers” to calm the children. It became so common in the 1950s and 1960s that it even had the nickname: “Mother’s Little Helper.”

The boom of benzodiazepines (a form of tranquilizers in which drugs such as valium (diazepam), ativan (lorazepam), and librium (chlordiazepoxide)) developed in the 1950s began in the 1960s. In 1965, she also appeared in pop culture with The Rolling Stones song Mother’s Little Helper. The drug was recommended by many doctors and it was a way to solve many problems related to parenting.