Is Euphoria Glamorizing the Use of Drugs?

The HBO show Euphoria is widely popular among older teens and young adults. The show follows a group of high school teenagers as they navigate their identities, trauma, drugs, friendships, and love. The drama within the show catches the eyes of its viewers. Between the scandals and crazy parties, the show appeals to many. However, can this teen drama be potentially harmful for younger audiences? 

Episode after episode, the audience views the use, more so the abuse, of many different types of drugs used by characters. Rue Bennett, the main character who heavily abuses drugs, shows the rippling effects of drug use and how harmful it can be to not only whoever is taking the drug, but to a whole family. However, Rue isn’t the only character who uses drugs within the show. There are many times where drugs like molly, weed, and heroin are showcased, just by different characters. Although the series reveals the harmful side of drugs through Rue’s character, it fails to do so in other characters. This can be quite dangerous for young watchers. Young audiences could view this as a way to avoid only hard drugs instead of all drugs.  

A representative at the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program (D.A.R.E.) is calling out the show. “Rather than further each parent’s desire to keep their children safe from the potentially horrific consequences of drug abuse and other high-risk behavior, HBO’s television drama, 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,” D.A.R.E. said in a statement to TMZ. Many believe that the writers of the show are simply trying to be candid about the realities of teen lives nowadays and how common drug use is within communities, but D.A.R.E. believes otherwise. “It is unfortunate that HBO, social media, television program reviewers, and paid advertising have chosen to refer to the show as ‘groundbreaking,’ rather than recognizing the potential negative consequences on school-age children who today face unparalleled risks and mental health challenges,” they said.

Now, D.A.R.E. isn’t simply criticizing; they claim they want to work together to communicate the appropriate message to real-life children. “We would welcome the opportunity for our team, including members of our high school-aged Youth Advocacy Board, to meet with individuals at HBO who are involved with producing Euphoria to present our concerns directly,” they said. This could be useful in many ways to the show as it can teach the audience the real dangers of drugs but it could also take away from the show’s intended meaning. 

Euphoria may portray heavy drug use within the show, but I truly believe when looking close enough, you can see the real dangers of drugs. D.A.R.E. has shared their opinions on what they think HBO producers should do for the show, however they never stated specifics on what they believe is harmful about the show. The series is very elaborate and the harms of drugs are woven throughout. One of the characters, Cassie Howard, is shown taking molly to a carnival. At first, it shows her having a good time, but after it shows how truly humiliating her experience was while on the drug. I believe D.A.R.E. isn’t looking closely into the way the drugs are portrayed within the show. From the breaking of friendships, relationships, and even families, to the simple effects the drugs have on the body, it is all portrayed in the show. You just have to pay attention.