Are Shows Like Euphoria Glorifying Drug Use?

Euphoria is a show that has been resonating with many audiences since it first launched on HBO Max, a few years back. Even though it’s a run-of-the-mill, teen-centric show that offers some entertainment value, its representation of real-world issues seems to be misguided, especially when broaching topics like drug use and abuse among teens. As a drug and alcohol treatment center in New Jersey, North Jersey Rehabs is committed to not only helping those with substance use disorders, but also providing the proper education and awareness on these issues that plague society, even more so when the various mediums of education and entertainment seem to muddy the waters. For today’s topic of discussion, let’s discuss how shows like Euphoria glorify drug use.

What Representatives Of D.A.R.E Had To Say

Representatives of D.A.R.E. (Drug and Alcohol Resistance Education) earlier this year issued a statement accusing HBO’s Euphoria of glamorizing drug use to young audiences. For the uninitiated, D.A.R.E. was also the same organization who in 1983, famously taught students to “say no” to drugs, until the program lost traction with federal funding in the late 90s. This came off as counterintuitive, and many studies confirmed it. Instead of steering students down the road of sobriety, it instead intrigued them more on drug and alcohol use. Even if the approach is the furthest thing from perfect or effective, are these officials right about Euphoria?

How Does The Main Character Rue Depict Her Drug Abuse?

Zendaya stars in the main role of Rue. A teenager who is hopelessly addicted to drugs and despite her “intentions” to get sober, she continually justifies relapsing and believes that drugs are the only solution for numbing/pacifying the issues. It’s certainly emblematic of what many of our patients at North Jersey Rehabs must endure, when making the powerful decision to get sober. But, as depicted by Rue, not everyone has the foresight to know when enough is enough or how to properly ask for help. Viewers get an inside scoop on how Rue is choosing to deal with those issues. From surviving overdoses, to lying to her friends and family, and getting entangled with drug dealers, the deviant behavior only seems to worsen, with Rue having no intention of wanting to change course. 

With that in mind, her life is not supposed to be viewed as something even remotely aspirational, or at least, this is the perceived logical reading of the show. But, the show will repeatedly prop up her interactions as something “mystical” or “enlightening”. Unbeknownst to no one, television has a habit of glamorizing the dangerous behavior that their narrative is supposed to condemn. Instead, the result is something that is seen as violent and exhilarating. 

Shedding Light On Fentanyl Abuse?

While lightly touched on, the show has potential to shed even more light on something that contaminates the drug supply more than anything–Fentanyl. Fentanyl has been linked to a surge in opioid overdoses in the U.S. While Rue is shown to take fentanyl intentionally, she is likely to also encounter it mixed in with another drug, without her knowledge, meaning she has no way of controlling the dose. Though it’s not explored in the show, harm-reduction methods like Narcan and Fentanyl test strips, can help make drug use safer. A hodgepodge of illicit substances have Fentanyl and dosing the Fentanyl is pretty difficult.

The Difficulties Of Getting Access To Treatment

Not everyone will have the means or resources to immediately get quality help from a drug and alcohol treatment center in New Jersey, and this is a narrative that Euphoria constantly addresses. More specifically, it’s supposed to be more of a challenge for Rue because she’s a teenager. The odds are stacked against this character, with her father passing away a few years prior, and now the single mom has to support her and the younger sister. Along with the family not being wealthy, the show touches on many elements that are emblematic of what teens must endure in real life. This can include dealing with a developing brain, limited impulse control, and the mission to seek out your identity. Being a teen is difficult, but when compounded with a substance use disorder, it becomes even more trivial.

Looking Ahead: Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center In New Jersey

While it’s no one’s job to police teens for the media they consume, objectively, many of these drug-induced themes that are sprinkled throughout the show, can have some negative effects. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, North Jersey Rehabs is here to help. Whether younger or older, we are committed to working with you to ensure that you can reap the benefits of a comprehensive, drug and alcohol treatment center in New Jersey. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment offerings.

Get in touch with North Jersey Rehabs


Please complete the form below to contact North Jersey Rehabs. If You need immediate assistance, please call (201) 928-5822. We’re waiting to hear from you!