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D.A.R.E. criticizes Euphoria for glamorizing drug abuse, sex, and violence

euphoria zendaya
Zendaya’s character Rue Bennet almost overdoses on the first episode of the season. Pic credit: HBO

While most viewers can’t get enough of HBO’s smash hit, Euphoria, there’s one group that can.

Premiering in 2019, the controversial series follows 17-year-old Rue Bennet (Zendaya) as she navigates high school while struggling with mental and drug addiction issues. Despite being a show about teenagers, the show graphically hits on serious topics such as sexual abuse, self-harm and addiction.

Drug abuse resistance education, formally known as the D.A.R.E. program, had strong opinions about how the high school drama negatively impacts young viewers and glamorizes the use of drugs, sex and violence.

D.A.R.E. criticizes Euphoria for glamorizing drug abuse, sex and violence

Fresh off the highly anticipated release of Season 2, the police officer-led program spoke out against the glorified portrayals of drug use, sex and violence that may negatively influence young viewers.

Sending a strong message, D.A.R.E’s statement to TMZ read, “Rather than further each parent’s desire to keep their children safe from 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.”

While it’s no surprise that the program that strives to teach “students good decision-making skills” would have an issue, it can be argued that the show does not present itself as a show for young viewers.

Graded with TV-MA rating, the HBO show is intended for a mature audience. Zendaya herself has taken to Instagram to reiterate the series is “deeply emotional and deals with subject matter that can be triggering and difficult to watch.”

Complete with title screen trigger warnings, the season’s start explicitly illustrated Zendaya’s character essentially overdosing at a New Year’s Eve party and then going on to use more drugs to combat cardiac arrest.

The Oakland native added, “Please only watch it if you feel comfortable. Take care of yourself and know that either way you are still loved and I can still feel your support.”

Producers have expressed their approach to the show is “honest”

While producers contend it gives an “honest” characterization, the advocacy group feels the show is doing more bad than good.

“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,” the statement continued.

Not closing the door completely on the series, the statement added, “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.”

Do you think Euphoria is doing more bad than good? Let us know in the comments.

Euphoria Season 2 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on HBO Max.

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