Refrain (リフレーン, Rifurēn) is an illegal and highly addictive deliriant that induces hallucinatory flashbacks to pleasant past experiences. Temporary behavioral abnormality is exhibited while under the influence of Refrain, and it is also useful as a truth serum. Once the drug wears off, the user is left unable to speak for some time and finally becoming an invalid.
Refrain is described by Lelouch as a drug created by the Holy Britannian Empire in order to lull the local population into a state of blissful ignorance as a form of a mild ethnic genocide. The drug is injected by a special injector, see picture above for an example. How the drug really works is unknown and only in Code Geass: Nightmare of Nunnally is it somewhat vaguely explained.
Under Britannian law, penalization for possession of Refrain is comparable to that associated with narcotics in the real world but this does not stop smugglers and corrupt noblemen from selling it to the populace. Prior to a crackdown executed by Cornelia, it was smuggled into Area 11 from the Chinese Federation by way of the Kyūshū Route. The Black Knights and the Britannian police force are supposedly trying to keep Refrain off the streets but in the episode Refrain it is revealed that a member of the Britannian Police Force is actually secretly involved with them.
Most users of Refrain are Numbers as the drug is specificaly created for them. In Area 11 a large number of the users are people living in the Ghetto or Honorary Britannians that can no longer stand the pressure of being persecuted by their Britannian counterparts. It is still unknown if there are any non Numbers who use Refrain, however Lelouch has attempted to use it. The Britannians however found a more practical use for the Drug and use it as a truth serum.
Effects and Side-EffectsEdit
As stated above, Refrain has the capability to induce hallucinatory flashbacks to pleasant past experiences. In other words, people who take Refrain can literally escape to a better time in their life. However, as with all illegal substances, it is not without any harmful effects. The Refrain poison enters the Synapse Circuits and forces the brain to create more Dopamine than it requires. Because of a new formation in the memory circuit, as the thoughts loop about within the brain the Cerebellum begins to deteriorate and causes the victim to become an Invalid.
Refrain bears a lot of resemblence to the drug 'Clarity' from Phillip K. Dick's story The Minority Report, in that it is used to allow people experience memories more vividly.