‘Euphoria’ versus reality

By Clara Snyder | Staff Writer

As the season two premiere of “Euphoria” swept the nation this past month, I have watched it grip the attention of nearly every individual in my age group. After witnessing addiction’s reality firsthand with my own family and friends, I have grown restless watching it entertain my peers.

My primary frustration regarding this show is the fact that much of the public has an alarmingly false understanding of addiction’s reality, which can lead to viewers interpreting the show as fiction. Why are we willing to justify the existence of a TV show such as this at a time when drug education effectiveness is dwindling and substance abuse is skyrocketing?

Programs such as D.A.R.E. started to be implemented into school systems in the 1980s. Despite this, a study produced by JAMA network, an open access medical journal, concluded that mortality rates from drug use disorders increased by more than 600% between 1980 and 2014.

Throughout my childhood, substance abuse had no real meaning to me. I grew up in an upper-middle-class family in a town with the word “paradise” in its name. I had an image of what addicts looked like based off what society had bred me to think, but that’s about it.

That all changed in 2019.

One day in 2019, there was a distinct shift in my life that transformed my perception of addiction permanently. During May of that year, I was plucked from my home and sent to a rehabilitation center where I would be spending the next three months of my life. While I was there, I learned how prominently addiction had affected several relatives on both my mom’s and my dad’s side of the family.

My family is composed of many adept individuals, each distinct in their own way. However, we all share one quality: the struggle to acknowledge issues because we feel they can be fixed on our own accord. The best way I can think to synopsize the connection between the substance abuse and other struggles drifting through my family comes from “Rick and Morty.”

“Rick, the only connection between your unquestionable intelligence and the sickness destroying your family is that everyone in your family, you included, use intelligence to justify sickness. You seem to alternate between viewing your own mind as an unstoppable force and as an inescapable curse,” a character from the show said.

The strongest conclusion that I can draw between the addictions gripping the people in my life and their inability to overcome them stems from this quote. Whether it be through religion or intelligence, I have watched relatives and friends justify their addictions, and it’s painful.

Even if addiction has not wounded you or a loved one, that should not stop you from educating yourself on the realities. Before you say it, no — “Euphoria” should not be your only source of education on addiction.

Until there is a reasonable understanding among the public of what substance abuse is and how tormenting it is to those affected by it, I will refuse to support this type of content.

For more information regarding substance abuse and addiction, see SAMHSA, NIDA, or NIH. Or if you’re looking for something on campus, check out the Beauchamp Addiction Recovery Center.