For all of its accompanying fanfare, regality and backslapping good intentions, the Kentucky Derby is largely an exercise in the extremities of human debauchery — which can be fun, provided you have the right drugs.
Let’s be clear first: While there’s plenty of noble sportsmanship and legitimate excitement to go around, few events of this size held on U.S. soil foster the kind of wanton acts of public intoxication, indecent exposure and drunken violence that Derby does. With the expansion of the weeks-long Derby Festival and the erosion of basic civil morality, even the local chamber of commerce has gotten into the game — bourbon was practically born here, so any excuse to pour 100-proof river water down the throats of as many people as possible is not only good business, it’s a matter of local pride.
Practically speaking, however, it’s highly illogical to traipse around in 80-degree weather imbibing a carbonated depressant that serves to dehydrate and fill you to the point of vomitous critical mass. And what if mint juleps aren’t your bag? Do beer and hot dogs seem too “middle-class” for your refined sensibilities? Suffering from post-hepatic jaundice, perhaps?
Then fret not, dear drug-addled Derby-goer; the following pharmacopoeia will set you as right (or as crooked) as your neurological system can stand. Abuse wisely …
Marijuana (Cannabis sativa, aka: pot, weed, bubonic chronic and other terms you’ve probably heard on TV)
Recommended Events: Chow Wagon, Taste of Derby Festival, Balloon Glow/Race, Great Steamboat Race
Derby Applicability: 11-Hydroxy-tetrahydrocannabinol — the main active metabolizing agent found within marijuana’s active ingredient, THC — forms in the body after the ingestion of cannabis and is directly responsible for the characteristic phenomenon known as munchies, which makes weed perfect for lording over the Chow Wagon like Jabba the Hutt or lazily strolling like a Hobbit along the waterfront. Just don’t forget where you parked.
Recommended Mode of Ingestion: Preferably smoked via spider bong at your place of residence, watching episodes of “Mr. Ed.” Otherwise the drug’s pungent smoke will alert the attention of the LMPD, who’d love nothing more than to bust your ass for rocking the ganja in a public space. But if The Dude within you must abide, and you’re in a crowd of thousands, we recommend Marinol, the trade name for dronabinol — a synthetic form of THC administered in handy capsule-form. Or roll a jay and pray.
Cocaine (benzoylmethyl ecgonine, aka blow, coke, nose candy, Bushbait, et al.)
Recommended Events: Infield on Oaks/Derby Day, but why stop there? Gotta keep moving man!
Derby Applicability: Few drugs manage to capture the essence of “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports” better than good ol’ synthesized coca leaves. Like the horse race itself, your high will be over before you know it, but a constant, generous stream will allow you to experience anything and everything Derby has to offer — mainly because you won’t be sleeping. Ever.
Recommended Mode of Ingestion: Mountains of it, like a pig at trough, in your fortified compound. Yet if you’re gonna be mobile (and you will), we suggest either a flip-top ring for a quick snort-on-the-go or, if you desire more substantial quantities, a large water balloon. You know: In case you have to, uh, get rid of it …
‘Magic’ Mushrooms (Psilocybe zapotecorum, aka shrooms, Super Marios, et al.)
Recommended Events: Every single one, actually, minus Children’s Tea with the Derby Festival Princess (unless you really want to be arrested)
Derby Applicability: Unlike psilocybin’s longer-lasting and more exhaustive cousin LSD, magic mushrooms are the de facto hallucinogenic drug of choice for Derby. Because they’re generally free from other chemical additives and provide the user with some sense of motor coordination, popping an eighth’s worth of caps ’n’ stems offers a perfect balance that street-grade LSD cannot match. Hell, the Pegasus Parade alone can provide a lifetime of warped visuals without drugs, so hold on to your balls, lest ye trip over them.
Recommended Mode of Ingestion: Because they usually take an hour or so to properly metabolize, mushrooms can be eaten well before you head out to see the Charlie Daniels Band. Yet the true psychoactive connoisseur will tell you to steep those funky fungi in a pot of tea, which can be conveniently transported via an Arizona Tea bottle.
Crystal Meth (methamphetamine, aka speed, crank, laundry detergent, Kentucky dirt, et al.)
Recommended Events: Derby Festival Mini-Marathon. Pace yourself.
Derby Applicability: Like coke, meth can help you get the most out of our festivities and then some — an average hit lasts anywhere from 9-15 hours. Just refrain from haranguing the locals with your brilliant insights and you should be OK.
Recommended Mode of Ingestion: Hypodermic syringes stored in a diabetic’s case with blood monitor, insulin, etc. for full effect. Powdered form in a balloon works, too, but be careful: Quaaludes and femoral-injected vodka shots can help take the edge off an especially hard tweak, so a little goes a long way.
Nitrous Oxide (aka laughing gas, Frank Booth, et al.)
Recommended Events: 4 a.m. in Churchill Downs’s parking lot the morning prior to Derby
Derby Applicability: NO2’s trademark giggle-inducing effects are a result of its dissociative neurological properties, much like PCP. However, nitrous’s medical properties as an anesthetic make it a happier drug decidedly at odds with Derby’s general vibe of mayhem.
Recommended Mode of Ingestion: Either a pressurized inhalant tank disguised as a personal oxygen system (because you’ve got the emphysema, remember?) or a simple chef-grade whipped cream canister will do.
MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine, aka ecstacy, X, mollys, Sextacy (when combined with Viagra), et al.)
Recommended Events: Dancing With the Stars: Derby Style, Derby Festival Winefest
Derby Applicability: Normally reserved for the club scene, ecstacy’s prowess as a party drug make it well suited for any number of Derby parties or events where bumping-and-grinding are an accepted part of the proceedings. Given the typically warm weather and MDMA’s taxation upon the circulatory system, you’ll want to keep hydrated — without having sex in the process, of course.
Recommended Mode of Ingestion: Anywhere, so long as the people around you are hot and marginally disease-free.
Heroin (Diacetylmorphine, aka black tar, Mister Brownstone, Osama’s bankroll, et al.)
Recommended Events: Like you’d even care.
Derby Applicability: Are those… horses? [passes out]
Recommended Mode of Ingestion: Hypodermic needle via the nipples of the naked-lady tattoo you got tattooed on your forearm last year.
 With the exception of certain music festivals, Masonic rituals and left-wing protests.