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Is "Euphoria" Glorifying Drug Use Amongst Teenagers?

In case you haven't been living under a rock for the past month then you would know that the HBO show "Euphoria" has returned for a season two after more than 2 years. And since the show touches on some pretty heavy topics like: drug addiction, teen pregnancy, mental health, and abusive relationships, the question: "Is Euphoria Glorifying Drug Use?" Has since been raised by multiple people.

With its music, glitter, and colourful lighting, to an outsider, the show can look slightly over romanticised, but there are only a handful of scenes where that is the case. It is even acknowledged by Rue herself in season 1 when she admits that "drugs are only cool for a very small window of time" We see our main character, Rue, slowly sabotage her own life, one bad decision at a time by: surviving overdoses, lying to her friends and family, and getting herself in dangerous situations.

Many concerns about this show have been brought up by D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) , a program with the goal of: "teaching effective peer resistance and refusal skills so that adolescents can say “no” to drugs and their friends who may want them to use drugs." This program claims that "Euphoria chooses to misguidedly glorify and erroneously depict high school student drug use, addiction, anonymous sex, violence, and other destructive behaviors as common and widespread in today's world." which is not the case. Sam Levinson, director of Euphoria, based the show on his own battle with drug addiction, and it was important for him from the start to portray addiction in an honest way, so yes, Euphoria shows the allure of drugs and the relief they can bring to a person, but it also shows why that is ultimately what makes them so destructive.

And while the media we consume has a very big influence on us, it is clear to any viewer that Rue's life isn't something to be inspired by. There is an instance where Rue comes very close to having another overdose, and we learn about Naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug, Zachary Siegel argues that: "Every teenager watching Euphoria at least knows that having naloxone around can save a life… I had grown up on DARE officers and media depictions like the outlandish heroin-overdose scene in Pulp Fiction … In contrast, Euphoria seizes the opportunity to educate audiences about the realities of overdose prevention.”

It is important to consider the trigger warnings before watching Euphoria, but nevertheless, it is a real show in the sense that there are so many people who suffer from drug addiction. And if anything, Euphoria helps us sympathise with those who do, seeing as we are all rooting for Rue (I presume)


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