How “Euphoria” shows the downsides of addiction


“Euphoria” is known for its intriguing plot lines and humanizing of real-world issues. Rue, “Euphoria’s” main protagonist played by Zendaya, has struggled with drug addiction since her father died. Season One picks up when Rue gets out of rehab for overdosing. Throughout the first season, Rue relapses and later becomes sober, only to relapse again, leading into the second season. 

 The show has been receiving criticism for “glorifying drug use.” The D.A.R.E program (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) put out a statement condemning Euphoria for “misguidedly glorifying high school student drug use.”   

The second season of “Euphoria” aired January 9, 2022. Episodes came out weekly, on Sundays at 9 pm. The second season depicted a more realistic portrayal of the dark side of drug addiction. Season 2 Episode 5, “Stand Still Like the Hummingbird,” focuses majorly on Rue.  

Up until that episode, Rue relapses on drugs and is using a dangerous amount. Episode 5 gives the watcher a look into what drug addiction does to not only the user, but the people close to the user. The episode opens with Rue’s mother confronting her about relapsing on drugs, yet again. The conversation quickly escalates and turns into a violent screaming match between Rue, her sister and her mom. 

“Oh poor Leslie. Her daughter’s an addict, but, you know her dad did die,” Rue says to her mother as an excuse for her habits.  

 She is in a manic state, causing her to hurt the people closest to her. Later in the episode, she finds out her girlfriend, Jules, is the one who tells her mother she is using again.  

“You’re dead to me, Jules. You know I have a lot of regrets in my life, but I gotta tell you, Jules, meeting you has got to be at the top of my list,” Rue says. 

Rue spends the rest of the episode running from her mother and sister. She robs a house for drug money and runs from the police through oncoming traffic just to stay away from rehab.  

Statistics show that 47% of teens will have used illicit substances by the time they graduate high school. Almost one million teens need substance abuse treatment but do not receive it, for fear of the consequences. 25% of high school students have reported using amphetamines.  

“Euphoria” is a comfort show to the target audience of high school students. However, the show can lead students to reflect on their life choices and send them into a state of second thought. Teenagers go through many changes and are trying new things, nonetheless, “Euphoria” can show them exactly what the downsides of these choices can be.  

“The one thing I know is true is, the longer you do drugs, the more you’re gonna lose,” Zendaya said.