Zendaya Responds to D.A.R.E.’s Criticism That ‘Euphoria’ Glorifies Teen Drug Use and Addiction

In a new interview, the star of 'Euphoria' opened up about the criticism HBO's hit series has seen regarding teen drug use as Season 2 makes waves.

Zendaya talks Euphoria drug use

Image via Getty/Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Zendaya talks Euphoria drug use

Euphoria is no “moral tale,” according to Zendaya

In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, the star opened up about the criticism the show has seen regarding substance use, which anti-drug education organization D.A.R.E specifically targeted

“I’ve had a lot of people reach out and find so many parallels from all ages, all walks of life,” Zendaya shared. “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.”

EW’s Marcus Jones writes that “in reaction to D.A.R.E. condemning Euphoria for supposedly glorifying teen drug use and addiction,” Zendaya had the following to offer.

“Our show is in no way a moral tale to teach people how to live their life or what they should be doing,” said the 25-year-old Spider-Man: No Way Home co-star. “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.”

Just last month, D.A.R.E. claimed the HBO juggernaut likes to “misguidedly glorify” drug use among teens, as the show follows L.A. high school students as they encounter addiction and more. 

“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,” a representative previously said. 

As history shows, D.A.R.E. has a zero-tolerance policy in terms of drug usage and its hold has weakened since the ’80s and ’90s.

The organization requested a meeting with “individuals at HBO who are involved with producing Euphoria to present our concerns directly,” but by the sound of it, Zendaya isn’t buying it. Also in her EW chat, the actor opened up about her character of Rue and the current happenings in Season 2. Spoilers aside, Zendaya hopes Rue’s story is a lesson for viewers.

“I think if we can still care about her after this, then I hope that other people can extend that to non-fictional characters, to real people, or just be a little bit more understanding and empathetic over the experience of addiction and what it does to people, what it does to their families,” she explained. 

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