Tv & Movies

Zendaya Defends Euphorias Raw and Honest Portrayal of Drug Addiction in Teens

Zendaya has spoken out in a recent interview defending Euphoria’s depiction of drug addiction after D.A.R.E complained it was glorifying the problem.

In the comment, Zendaya stated that instead, the show aims to show teens that they are not alone in their pain and it is a more realistic way of understanding the use of drugs in teens. Drug use among teens is more present than ever, with a recent study discovering that in the UK a staggering one in 10  teens have tried hard drugs like ketamine and cocaine.


With this in mind, Martin Preston, Founder and CEO at Delamere has commented on the impact shows like Euphoria and Skins can have on teen addiction and has shared some tips on how to spot the signs of drug abuse in teens. 

Martin Preston, Founder and CEO at Delamere says: “When it comes to substance overuse, Euphoria stands out as one of the only shows that really depicts teen addiction in a raw and honest way, which is what makes it so refreshing.  

“The show follows the main character Rue who has left rehab after recovering from a drug overdose. The character’s addiction stemmed from prescription drugs and developed into a dependency for illegal drugs, such as cocaine and heroin.”

“While programmes like these can be particularly problematic for teens and encourage them to engage in risky or unhealthy behaviour that could lead to drug dependence further down the line due to the glorification, a common misconception that comes with prescription drug use is that it’s not as harmful or addictive as other substances like cocaine. 


“However, the sad truth is that abuse of prescribed medication is not a small problem in young people and can often be a gateway drug to more harmful substances.”

“In fact, a recent survey from the team at Delamere has revealed that 1 in 6, 18-24 year olds have increased their prescription drug overuse in the last year, due to COVID-19.”

“Therefore, when shows like Euphoria depict prescription drug misuse in a raw and honest way, it allows parents and carers to open up the conversation with young people, so they know about the risks that come with using them before it becomes an ongoing problem”. 

Signs and symptoms of prescription misuse:

  • Withdrawal symptoms when they run out of the prescription drugs 
  • Compulsive drug-seeking and taking 
  • Change in sleep patterns 
  • Change in appetite and weight 
  • Mixing prescription drugs with alcohol or other drugs 
  • Taking increasing amounts of prescription drugs 
  • Change in appearance 
  • Frequent intoxication 
  • Suffering negative consequences as a direct result of their prescription drug taking 
  • Prioritising taking prescription drugs 
  • Increased anxiety and/ or depression 
  • Changes in mood – fluctuating from high to low in mood 
  • Confusion 
  • Being secretive and dishonest
  • Impaired memory and inability to focus or concentrate 
  • Hostility or aggression when challenged over prescription drug taking 
  • Lost of interest in things they enjoy 
  • Paranoia / Psychosis 
  • A decline in mental health

How you can help a person with drug misuse:
Being worried about a person that suffers with drug dependency can often be a worrying and scary time, but it is possible to get through to the person by doing the following: 

  • Caring about them is already doing more than you know, so make sure they know you are willing to help them through their recovery so they have something to hold on to. 
  • Educate yourself on drug misuse so you have more knowledge of their situation. 
  • Speak to a person dependent on drugs when you are both feeling calm. Tell them in relation to your feelings about their drug use, rather than being accusatory, and it will allow you to get somewhere, without them becoming defensive or feeling attacked. 
  • Try and stay calm when you are discussing drug misuse so that you are more likely to get through to them. 
  • Empathise your compassion and empathy to the difficulties that they may be having. 
  • Accept that getting clean won’t happen overnight and that it is a long process. 
  • Go easy on yourself as helping someone with drug dependency can sometimes be overwhelming and cause emotions to run high. 

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