Euphoria has been taking over the news cycle lately. With the second season releasing week by week, many people have been asking whether or not this sex-crazed, drug-heavy show is promoting and glorifying the use of drugs or accurately representing addiction.
Euphoria follows 17-year old Rue after she gets out of rehab from her first overdose at the beginning of the first season. From there, we watch as she gets clean, relapses, and tries to avoid telling the truth to pretty much anyone in her life. Meanwhile, sabotaging her relationships and causing herself all the more stress in the process. While there are some questionable things in Euphoria, such as an entire high school full of people having sex and doing drugs, there are a lot more things that Euphoria gets right about drug addiction.
Most importantly, we need to remember that Euphoria is a piece of media. In media, everything is blown up, portrayed as more dramatic, and more existential. Also, while Euphoria may be an accurate representation of some drug addiction, it doesn’t cover all types. Addiction is different for everyone, and Rue’s struggles don’t reflect the struggles that everyone deals with as real-life addicts. Here are a few things that Euphoria gets right about addiction.
Addiction Affects Your Relationships
Having an addiction can greatly affect your relationships with the people around you. Whether it’s friends, family members, or partners, using drugs in any capacity can change the relationship. For Rue, we see her struggle with all of the above. Not only does her mother lose trust in her, but we see how much Rue’s addiction affects her younger sister Gia. Her younger sister is often caught in the crosshairs. She’s the one who finds her after her first overdose, and often the one that Rue lies to the most about her drug use.
This is true in real life, too. Drug addicts often lie to the ones closest to them in order to keep using drugs in secret. Their drug use may also affect loved ones in different ways. For example, it can be extremely difficult for friends and family members to watch a loved one go through addiction without being able to do something.
Like in Euphoria, addicts may lose friends, partners, and the trust of their loved ones as a result of their drug addiction. This is because drug addicts often lie in order to hide their behaviors or pretend that they’re doing well when people can clearly see through them.
Addiction Can Start from a Young Age
In Euphoria, we see the start of Rue’s drug addiction. Her father is dying from cancer and has a variety of different drugs in his side table. Rue decides to try out an opioid while her father is next to her in bed. However, he’s so drugged up that he doesn’t notice her using.
While this is a very specific scenario that doesn’t apply to all drug addicts, it shows how young people can try drugs and have it become a problem later in their lives. One of the risk factors for developing an addiction is use at a young age. When you’re young, it’s much easier to develop a dependence on drugs because your brain is still developing.
Young kids often use drugs because of peer pressure or experimentation. There are many cases of kids using prescription drugs they find at home in order to get high with their friends. This is why programs such as D.A.R.E. recommend that parents keep prescription drugs out of reach. Rue’s parents clearly did not follow this rule.
Addicts Often Feel Unstoppable
When using drugs, people often feel like they can accomplish anything or get away with anything. This is why they feel the need to lie about their behaviors, they don’t think they’ll get caught. This is often because drugs like heroin and other opioids give users a euphoric feeling, where they feel on of the world like nothing could get them down.
We see this “untouchable” feeling in Rue over and over again, especially in season two where we see her journey heading directly for another overdose. She simply doesn’t believe or doesn’t care that what she’s getting into is extremely dangerous. And while most addicts won’t end up working for a huge drug dealer, it gets the point across.
Does Euphoria Get Anything Wrong About Addiction?
Euphoria doesn’t get anything wrong about addiction, but it’s definitely not accurate to everyone’s experience. It showcases the experience of one person who often goes to the extreme. There are different levels of addiction, and not everyone will experience this huge extreme that Rue does. Some people might feel dependent on prescriptions like Xanax or Hydrocodone, while others might actively seek out drugs on the street. Just because you aren’t running from the cops or working with a drug dealer, that doesn’t mean you don’t suffer from addiction.
And while we don’t believe Euphoria glorifies drug use, we do believe that it shows the absolute extreme, where Rue is completely struggling to get the help she needs and she’ll do pretty much anything to use. We also see her struggle with relapse, withdrawal, and treatment throughout her journey, all things that real-life addicts struggle with as well. So while Euphoria doesn’t get anything wrong, it’s not an accurate representation of every single addict out there.
How to Help the Young Addict in Your Life
If you’re worried that your child or loved one is struggling with drug abuse, it’s time to talk to them about seeking treatment. It’s vital to get treatment as soon as possible before drug addiction gets worse. Here at Asheville Recovery Center, we offer rehabilitation programs for all ages. From inpatient to outpatient treatment programs, we have all types to fit their needs. To learn more about our treatment programs and how we can your child or loved one get and stay sober, give us a call today. We’re eager to answer any questions you may have.