Film & TV

Zendaya Stands up for 'Euphoria' After D.A.R.E. Says the Show Glorifies Drug Use

The show is made to help “people feel a little bit less alone.”

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Zendaya Stands up for 'Euphoria' After D.A.R.E. Says the Show Glorifies Drug Use

The show is made to help “people feel a little bit less alone.”

To say Euphoria is not for the faint-hearted would be an understatement, as the show’s leading lady, Zendaya has issued trigger warnings before each season premiere. According to some, that is seemingly not enough, as anti-drug campaign D.A.R.E. has shamed the HBO Max series for potentially increasing harmful behavior.

D.A.R.E. previously spoke with TMZ after the second season premiere claiming that the show has “misguidedly and erroneously” depicted teen drug use, leading to “addiction, anonymous sex, violence, and other destructive behaviors as common and widespread in today’s world. It is unfortunate that HBO, social media, television program reviewers, and paid advertising have chosen to refer to the show as ‘groundbreaking,’ rather than recognizing the potential negative consequences on school-age children who today face unparalleled risks and mental health challenges.”

In last night’s episode, Rue, played by Zendaya, is confronted with the severity of her substance addiction after her family finds her drugs and holds an intervention as she has come close to fatally overdosing multiple times. Zendaya responds to D.A.R.E.’s claims, telling Entertainment Weekly, “Our show is in no way a moral tale to teach people how to live their life or what they should be doing. If anything, the feeling behind Euphoria, or whatever we have always been trying to do with it, is to hopefully help people feel a little bit less alone in their experience and their pain, and maybe feel like they’re not the only one going through or dealing with what they’re dealing with.”

It’s also worth noting that the HBO drama’s showrunner Sam Levinson has dealt with teen addiction himself, telling Variety after the series premiere, “I spent the majority of my teenage years in and out of hospitals, rehabs and halfway houses. I was a drug addict, and I’d take anything and everything until I couldn’t hear or breathe or feel.”

With Rue arguably at rock bottom, Zendaya hopes that the show’s gritty approach shines an honest light on the crippling disease that addiction is. The Emmy-award wining actor continues, “My biggest hope is that people are able to connect to it and those who need to heal and grow with Rue hopefully, by the end of this season, feel that hope and feel that change in her. I’ve had a lot of people reach out and find so many parallels from all ages, all walks of life. So many parallels with Rue and her story and Rue means a lot to them in a way that I can understand, but also maybe in a way that I could never understand, and that means that means the most to all of us.”

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