The not so Euphoric reality

HBO’s TV series Euphoria’s portrayal of addiction may be dramatic, but it’s true

Drugs. Glitter. Makeup. Drama. All these things come to mind when discussing the popular TV show Euphoria. With its dreamy soundtrack and unique style, Euphoria has gained the attention of many people of all ages. It depicts the experiences of teens whose lives are far from perfect. Also, Euphoria’s depiction of addiction and the effect it has on teenagers goes way deeper than the surface level. It is not only a dramatic plot line, but also calls out to teens, assuring them they aren’t alone with the problems they are facing.  There has been controversy over whether the portrayal is accurate. But when you look into the plot, it becomes obvious that Euphoria has accurately depicted the toll addictions take on people.

As someone who’s dealt with addiction, I often found myself creating lies to tell others so they wouldn’t figure out what I was doing. Looking back now, I realize that this behavior was wrong but at the time, I couldn’t really bring myself to stop.  Euphoria portrays this manipulative behavior through their character Rue, a teenager struggling with serious drug addiction. Early in the show, Rue enters a sequence and explains to the audience “how to get away with being a drug addict”. This sequence wasn’t intended to actually show how to be a drug addict but instead, to show how manipulative people who deal with addiction can be.

Some may argue that the degree of addiction that is portrayed in the show isn’t realistic  and is very much an exaggeration. Well, of course it’s exaggerated: it’s television! However, addiction in teens is way more common than people realize. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, 8.6% of teenagers in Illinois use drugs and 8.90 % drink alcohol. This may not seem like a lot until you consider that these percentages apply to millions of people.

Additionally,  addiction is more than drugs and alcohol. People can be addicted to many things including video games, shopping and watching porn. Every addiction is dangerous and can lead to the same manipulative, desperate circumstances that are portrayed in Euphoria. Therefore, Euphoria’s portrayal of addiction doesn’t stop at drugs. Let’s take a look at another character: Cassie. This character’s barrier to happiness is that she longs so much to be loved that she lets it destroy her and the relationships she has with other people. Although they hate to believe it, many people suffer from the same addiction and act the same way as Cassie. The feelings that come along with being loved are exhilarating, and it’s easy to become dependent on them to feel worthy.  Many modern-day teenagers suffer from the same dependency. This causes them to be stuck in abusive relationships even when everyone around them tells them to leave.

Addiction is a scary thing and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Oftentimes it’s hard for people to notice and take action because there is  a stereotype that you can only be addicted to drugs or alcohol. While Euphoria may have the help of glitter and lighting, it accurately presents the impact any kind of addiction can have on a person. It correctly portrays not only teen life, but the life of many people of many ages.