Triptocaine, commonly called "Tripto," is a fictional drug in Heavy Rain. Special Agent and profiler Norman Jayden is addicted to it. It is presented as a slightly luminescent light blue powder kept in a small vial. The route of administration is insufflation ("snorting").
The effects of the drug are never explicitly stated. Lack of use, however, can result in withdrawal due to physical dependence. When Jayden takes Triptocaine, it appears to cause euphoria and make it easier for him to focus his thoughts.
The name of the substance appears to refer to two different types of drug. The prefix tript- is reminiscent of tryptamine or tryptophan, precursors/derivatives of serotonin, suggesting some serotonergic effect. The suffix -caine is common among local anesthetics, the most famous being cocaine and novocaine. The anesthetic effect associated with the suffix -caine is due to a pharmacology unrelated to the euphoric effects of cocaine. It is likely, however, that the name is meant to allude to cocaine's euphoric effect alone, as Triptocaine is not used as a local anesthetic. Cocaine's euphoric effects are due to its action as a TRI (i.e. a reuptake inhibitor of serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline). Taking the two affixes together, it can be surmised that this drug is a TRI with additional affinity for serotonin transporters and/or receptors.
This said, the withdrawal effects are very different from those of a serotonergic drug or of cocaine, but instead they are somewhat like an exaggerated form of alcohol or heroin withdrawal (save for the nosebleeds, which are more indicative of stimulant-type action).
It is additionally likely that the drug is broken apart by enzymes in the stomach, as it is only insufflated, although this method of administration could be due to its rapid onset.
Triptocaine causes both physical and psychological dependence. Norman Jayden experiences cravings and withdrawal symptoms linked to his Triptocaine use throughout the game. Like all drugs that cause physical dependence, once the body becomes dependent on the substance, a drop in the amount of the drug in the user's system will result in some form of withdrawal. For example, persons ending heavy use of caffeine or attempting to quit tobacco use often demonstrate irritability, restlessness, headaches, and other symptoms. Taking more of the drug, while in a state of withdrawal, alleviates symptoms.
It is not apparent why Jayden is using Triptocaine. It is also not clear exactly what the short- or long-term effects of the drugs are. Jayden appears to experience feelings of euphoria and pleasure when taking it; however, since he is shown to ingest it after experiencing distressing and possibly painful symptoms (shaking hands, blurred vision, increased heart rate, etc.), his reaction may be relief at the cessation of the symptoms.
One possible reason for Jayden's use of Triptocaine may be linked to his frequent use of the ARI, or Added Reality Interface, a VR interface he uses during his investigations to collect, analyze, and collate evidence. Since the ARI is an experimental device, it is possible that Triptocaine was developed to be used in concert with the ARI and mitigate the negative effects of the device on the psychological health of its users, but became addictive because of the feelings of relief and well-being that it brought them.
While it may be that Triptocaine has legitimate therapeutic uses in the Heavy Rain universe, Norman's use of the drug seems to be more than therapeutic. Aside from his clear dependency on it, he is heard berating himself for using it and talking himself through resisting the urge to use it, which implies that he is trying to get or stay clean.
Likewise, it is never made clear if Jayden's various deaths (when he is not killed by another character) are linked strictly to his use of ARI, strictly to his dependence on Triptocaine, or a combination of both.
When playing as Norman Jayden, the player can choose to have Jayden consistently resist taking the drug (there are two occasions where Jayden will "indulge" without the player being able to control his actions), or allow him to take it at each opportunity presented. While many fans of the game believe that taking Triptocaine will influence the ending that the player receives, using Triptocaine doesn't affect the ending in any way.
It is not clear what all of the effects of Triptocaine withdrawal/use are, though some appear to be:
- Shaking hands
- Pale/clammy skin
- Hallucinations (via overdose or possibly prolonged usage)
- Blurred vision
- Death (by overdosing)