‘Euphoria’ accused of glamorizing addiction


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“Rue,” played by Zendaya, unreliably narrates episodes of “Euphoria,” as she is a drug addict.

Ana Shipman, Editorial Editor

“Euphoria” is a television series that attracted many towards its deep plot and intricate characters. The show touches on different real life situations, such as addiction, family issues, grief, mental illness and overall teen struggles. Coming out in June of 2019, “Euphoria” gripped Generation Z like no other. 

While this series showcases these hard hitting topics, many start to wonder if it is too much. Along with these touchy subjects, there are many beautiful and aesthetically pleasing scenes. For example, Cassie Howard, played by Sydney Sweeney, is shown crying in front of a wall of roses. While crying over a serious issue with relationships, the viewer may wonder if Sam Levinson, the creator of Euphoria, is showing issues with beauty rather than reality.

This, however, is simply not the case. The show also touches on erotic addictions as well as drug abuse. Not going into deep detail, there are many situations where one could get arrested due to their actions for just a small “euphoric” feeling from someone else. 

Drug abuse is the main topic throughout the entire show, the rest just come along with the plot. Rather than abuse being glamorized, it may be more than likely that the viewers are making something out of nothing, or turning something ugly into something beautiful. With the gorgeous clips of scenery, beautiful outfits and makeup as well as attractive actors, fans are taking the real issues out of context. They are using these small, intricate details to bash the series as a whole. 

In season one, Rue Bennet, played by Zendaya, is shown to be the main character as well as the narrator. Rue happens to be addicted to drugs. Rue is not only shown being impulsive and dangerous, but the viewers also see Rue overdose. A clip of Rue being covered in her own vomit while her sister screams and cries is simply not glamorous at all. Fast forward to season two, Rue goes on a bender. She is shown trashing the house, screaming at her mom and her little sister, crying, moving frantically and having an overall meltdown. As Bennet gets angry, then soon apologizes minutes later and cries, as well as manipulating her family, fans are shown the true sides of drug addiction when seen by family members. The cycle of anger to constant apologies goes on for about fifteen minutes, and she then says statements she soon regrets. 

Rue is shown popping pills, doing heroin, snorting cocaine and more. Nothing about showing these actions is glamorizing due to the fact that she is normally shown doing something irrational or passing out. 

Ali, Rue’s sponsor and friend, was also touched upon. Ali was also addicted to drugs, and watchers hear about his past while he was using. It is brought to light that he was very abusive to his family. He states that he would beat his wife and his daughters, and now that he is clean, he is trying everything to make amends. In Rue’s special, hour long episode, dedicated to a conversation between her and Ali, he said that his daughters are not in contact with him and he regrets everything. 

Drug addiction is not a topic to be taken lightly, therefore many feel that those people saying that “Euphoria” is glamorizing addiction is nothing short of invalidating. If one truly watched the show, they would realize that it is quite the opposite. Although there are a few scenes where people are having fun when they are on drugs, some feel that the viewers need to realize the entire show is based on Rue’s interpretation of situations. The true issue is having such an unreliable narrator that looks like the show is glamorizing drugs.