A Letter To The Person Who Shortens The Names of Drugs

Dear Person Who Shortens The Names of Drugs,

Now then, my lovely, I’m just writing to offer you a little bit of work related advice. I haven’t actually seen your job description but I have looked at your job title and I think we have a little problem.

I was under the impression that the drug naming procedure went like this:

1) A drug is given a long scientific sounding name that not even sober people can pronounce, eg. Lysergic acid diethylamide

2) You shorten the long scientific sounding name to something….now then, what’s the word I’m thinking of, oh yes, shorter. eg. LSD or Acid.

Now, let’s talk about a drug called 4-methylmethcathinone. 4-methylmethcathione is very hard to say, even Stephen Fry would need two gos to get this right. So who you gonna call? You! You must shorten it. It’s your job. If you don’t shorten 4-methylmethcathinone there will be chaos. No one will be able to pronounce it and it will take up far too much copy in the Daily Mail.

Now, I’m not sure how you go about naming things.. but this is what i would do, first of all, I would clap my hands together and squeal. ‘Ooooo. I love naming things. What shall I call it? Charlie? Angel Dust? Ecstacy? God I’m good at this. I’ll just do a Google search to check they’re not already in use. Oh titties! Back to the drawing board. How’s about Frenzy? Cosmo? Rapture?’ and so on.

But, you came up with, and I’m shaking my head in disbelief as I type, mephedrone. I would have thought that one of the main rules about naming things is to make sure that the name you choose sounds different to other things.

To illustrate my point let’s meet two imaginary hapless teenagers called Toby and Fraser. Toby and Fraser want to be like the cool older teenagers at their school. One day, the cool older teenagers are in the playground talking about how they go clubbing and take mephedrone. (for the purpose of this exercise you need to bear in mind that teenagers tend to talk like they’re undergoing root canal treatment)

‘What did he say?’ whispers Toby, picking an old bit of bacon out of his brace.

‘I think he takes a metronome when he goes clubbing,’ whispers Fraser, picking a spot.

‘What’s that?’ asks Toby innocently.

‘It’s a thing, like, that helps you keep the beat of the music. My sister Izzy takes one to her piano lessons.’

‘Cool. Shall we borrow it and go clubbing?’

So Toby and Fraser go to a nightclub with fake ID and Izzy’s metronome. Fraser is grounded for stealing the metronome and both are branded ‘losers’ by the cool teenagers. But that isn’t as bad as what happens when they mistake the word Mephedrone for the opioid, Methadone. Or methedrine. Or methedrone.

Now then, to your credit, you realised that poor young Fraser and Toby were buggered but not in a good way. So you thought you’d shorten the name again, to something shorter. And you came up with ‘miaow-miaow’. But the problem we have here is that you’ve shortened a drug’s name to a word that takes longer to say. Miaow-miaow has a whole extra syllable and a hyphen.

In light of this, I’ve renamed the drug mephedrone for you. It is now called Garden-Gnome, which has much better branding opportunities. But I haven’t shortened it further because I was going to suggest that the Daily Mail hold a competition to do that. And whoever comes up with the best nickname for the drug Garden Gnome will win a Garden Gnome (a small china figure- not the newly named drug- I will tell the Daily Mail to make that very clear)

So there we have it. I’m sorry you weren’t suited to the drug naming business but on a more positive note you are clearly a cat lover, and you may well suit a career in cat grooming or cat flap fitting. But please, please, don’t even think of cat food naming. I mean it. I know how your mind works, you’re thinking ‘Whiskies, what a great name for a cat food.’ Stop it. Stop it now.

Yours very sincerely


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Filed under career advice, drugs, mephedrone

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