It's hard to fully comprehend the drug problem that's infesting EVE Online's galaxy of New Eden. With players tucked comfortably inside their spaceships, you never really get a chance to see their bloodshot, drug-addled eyes. But rest assured, drug use in EVE is rampant, and one player is trying to do something about it.
His mission is so important he doesn't even have a proper name. Instead, he's simply called 'CONCORD Drug-Enforcement Officer' (let's call him Deo for short). He's a character created by Reddit user 'JadekMenaheim' to roleplay a rookie DEA agent modelled after , a real-life agent whose efforts helped bring down Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar as shown in the hit Netflix series Narcos. And like Pena, Deo means business.
"Narco containment protocols require that I conduct checkpoint scans for your protection," his character biography reads. "Please forfeit any drugs or illegal boosters aboard your ship/capsule to this authorized drug enforcement agent."
Fitted with a cargo scanner, Deo is willing to violate any pilot's right to privacy to win his personal war against drugs. But like any good official, he's dutifully recorded his exploits and shared his first outing in an . His mission started in EVE Online's "newbie" systems, where concerns arose that new players might have "inadvertently become mules for the NPC narcos."
Deo's mandate is obviously just a funny gag played for laughs, but EVE Online does have a problem with performance enhancing drugs. Called boosters, these illicit substances can dramatically improve a pilot's various skills, like providing an increase to their reflexes, allowing their guns to track enemies quicker. There are dozens of different boosters, everything from Crash to Blue Pill to Mindflood. And like real drugs, they can have some serious side effects.
Each time you get high, you run the risk of the effects backfiring. Instead of being super accurate behind the guns, you might find yourself unable to fully engage your thrusters, leaving you a sitting duck for enemy pilots. EVE Online's NPC police force, known as CONCORD, has strict rules against possession of boosters, and AI-controlled customs officers will persecute any player caught with them in their cargo. Weaker versions are legal, but their enhancing effects are greatly reduced, making them less appealing.
As a result, the lower security regions of New Eden, where pirate cartels are found, sometimes contain black markets where these substances can be acquired by any player looking for a good time. Booster kingpins manufacture the drugs from clouds of gas that can be harvested out in space and transport them using blockade runners—ships that fit expensive covert ops cloaking devices—that allow them to slip by the authorities undetected. Though the market isn't nearly lucrative enough to turn a player into a space-faring Pablo Escobar, that's not stopping Deo from doing his due diligence.
Unfortunately, fighting digital narcos isn't easy when you're flying a Velator, EVE's newbie ship that's about as threatening as a Nerf gun. But the community reception to Deo's efforts has been so positive, one player donated a sexy police-issue Federation Navy Comet worth about 16 million ISK. This high speed frigate, flown by CONCORD's own pilots, is the perfect ship to help Deo clean up the space streets. He's even started a community outreach program called "Crash-for-Cars" that encourages pilots to trade in their illicit substances in exchange for Gallentean Planetary Vehicles. These are just a commodity for traders to sell, so you can't actually drive these vehicles, making them functionally useless. But it's the thought that counts, right?
Deo might also be making some powerful enemies. In a comment, he reveals that a player named 'ShadowMaster' sent him a , which he interprets as a pretty clear warning. I logged into EVE Online to reach out to Deo, but could find no trace of him. Honestly, I fear the worst has already happened. It's only a matter of time before someone finds his mutilated corpse in a dumpster somewhere. Will New Eden's war on drugs ever end?