D.A.R.E. Is Not a Fan of 'Euphoria'

D.A.R.E. Is Not a Fan of 'Euphoria'

by Hedy Phillips

HBO’s gritty teen show Euphoria may be well-loved by fans, but D.A.R.E. is not one of them.

D.A.R.E. — Drug Abuse Resistance Education — shared a statement with TMZ today that pretty harshly slams the depiction of drug use among the characters on the show. “Rather than further each parent’s desire to keep their children safe from the potentially horrific consequences of drug abuse and other high-risk behavior, HBO’s television drama, Euphoria, chooses to misguidedly glorify and erroneously depict high school student drug use, addiction, anonymous sex, violence and other destructive behaviors as common and widespread in today’s world,” the statement reads.

You might have to reach deep into the depths of your memory to recall D.A.R.E.; The anti-drug program — which began as part of the Reagan "Just Say No" era — is usually taught to school kids before they reach their teenage years and are exposed to drugs, violence, alcohol, etc. The program aims to give kids the knowledge and tools they need to stay on the straight and narrow, but that’s often easier said than done when you’re an impressionable teen.

Euphoria does feature quite a bit of casual drug usage, most notably with its main character Rue, played by Zendaya. Throughout the first season and into the currently airing second season, Rue has struggled with drug addiction. It’s ruining her relationship with her younger sister, played by Storm Reid, and getting her into dangerous situations with some seriously sketchy people. But with the glitz and glam of the way the show is shot and received, D.A.R.E. is concerned that despite the dangers shown on screen, some viewers may still be enticed to follow in Rue’s footsteps.

But rather than just attack HBO and the Euphoria creators for the show they’ve chosen to make, D.A.R.E. says they’d like to collaborate with the network to ensure the messaging on the show is more helpful than harmful. The statement to TMZ continues, “We would welcome the opportunity for our team, including members of our high school-aged Youth Advocacy Board, to meet with individuals at HBO who are involved with producing Euphoria to present our concerns directly."

D.A.R.E. also shares that they feel it’s unfortunate that Euphoria is viewed as “groundbreaking” when so much of the show can be considered dangerous, especially with teenagers facing “unparalleled risks and mental health challenges.” Because not only is the drug usage in Euphoria a concern, but there are other troubling themes, like abusive relationships, violence and unsafe casual sex. And though the show is fiction, these topics are certainly ones that are realistic among teens and beyond. The show and the network have not yet responded to D.A.R.E.’s message.