Does Euphoria Glamorize Drugs?


Rue Bennett from Euphoria.

Euphoria is a popular teen drama created and written by Sam Levinson. The show follows 17-year-old Rue Bennett, who’s caught up in the endless cycle of drug addiction. Euphoria has brought to light many problems and struggles that teens deal with on a daily basis. Though one of the most common themes of the show is addiction, people wonder if because of the glamorous makeup, glitter and otherworldly music, that it might be glamorizing drug abuse.

The show is very in-depth and does a good job at depicting how the characters feel about what they’re doing versus the outsiders, like their families. For example, when Rue overdosed in season one and her sister had to be the one to find her passed out on the bedroom floor covered in vomit. The viewers can feel the emotion portrayed on the screen when Rue’s sister found her and how much it affected her. However, in Rue’s point of view she was suffering so much and it was contrasted with the glitter and colors that she was seeing herself. Meaning she thought drugs were her only escape and essentially her only chance at feeling euphoric. 

There are many situations shown that display the variety of repercussions of addiction. Jules, Rue’s girlfriend, refused to continue being in a relationship with her unless she stopped using. Later on in season two, Jules found out Rue was never sober and this led to many issues. Jules informed Rue’s mom that she was not sober and this caused a downward spiral for Rue. She was going through withdrawals and would have done anything for drugs and was saying horrible things to her friends and family. This situation is meant to scare the viewers and show us how badly drugs can ruin your relationships. 

“As someone who has had people with active addiction problems in my life, Euphoria does a great job showing how addiction makes those you love unrecognizable and the worst version of themselves. I don’t ever want to hear that this show glamorizes drug use, when you got a whole episode about how drug use changes you and hurts everyone who cares about you,” a student that would like to remain anonymous said. 

Levinson has spoken out and says that it’s “crucial that film and television portray addiction in an honest way.” He has based elements of Rue’s story on personal experiences and thinks that addiction in fiction should be based on reality. 

In the end, I think Euphoria does a great job at portraying addiction and showing us the reality of it all. Everyone does have a different viewing experience but I think the overall message of the show is that addiction is an incredibly difficult and terrifying thing that no one should have to go through.