Meth Addiction as Seen Through TV and Film
According to a 2008 U.S. government report, around 13 million people 12 years or older have used methamphetamine (meth). An additional 529,000 used the drug regularly. One of the biggest questions you might ask is, “Why this has been happening?” Methamphetamine has similarities to a drug, amphetamine, which works to help those dealing with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or narcolepsy.
Various media, including television programs and films, have depicted the production, dealing, and use of the drug. Some people have questioned whether such depictions have helped popularize meth by showing it onscreen. This abuse can put people in meth rehab centers.
Probably the most prominent example of this can be seen in the television show Breaking Bad. The program, which first aired in January 2008, received both huge audiences and critical buzz. Viewers tuned in each week to see Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, a high school chemistry teacher struggling with lung cancer. He turned to a life of crime producing and selling crystal meth with his former student, Jesse Pinkman, portrayed by Aaron Paul. While Walter White was sympathetic on some levels, he also sold crystal meth, which had disastrous consequences for those who came in contact with the drug.
Some of those affected could have been the very teenage students White taught at his high school. Around 4.5 percent of American high school seniors said they used meth at least once in their lives, the U.S. government reported. Additionally, 4.1 percent of high school sophomores also abused meth at least once too. That means there were significant numbers of high school students who could have needed help from meth rehab centers because of the actions of drug dealers such as Walter White. While Walter may have had troubles in his own life, the fact that he made money through the production and sale of meth created problems for others.
Other fictional drug dealers have seen no problem with drugs or drug abuse. In fact, Ben and Chon, two drug dealers in Los Angeles, California, not only sold drugs but also abused them with their girlfriend Ophelia in the film Savages. As Blake Lively’s Ophelia said in the film, “Chon says drugs are a rational response to insanity.” With Ophelia’s conclusion about drugs, it appears as if she might have been caught in the pop culture-created allure of meth and other drugs. Far from being glamorous, though, meth abuse can lead to a host of medical problems and even death.
BIO: Tommy Zimmer is a writer whose work has appeared online and in print. His work covers a variety of topics, including politics, economics, health and wellness, addiction and recovery, and the entertainment industry.