HBO’s hit TV show, Euphoria’s second season is out. Three episodes in, the teenage drama series has already landed itself in hot water. According to D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), a group that provides education against substance abuse in America, Euphoria recklessly glorifies the use of drugs and sex.

In a statement given to TMZ, D.A.R.E’s official spokesperson was quoted saying, “Rather than further each parent’s desire to keep their children safe from the potentially horrific consequences of drug abuse and other high-risk behaviour, HBO’s television drama Euphoria chooses to misguidedly glorify and erroneously depict high school student drug use, addiction, anonymous sex, violence, and other destructive behaviours as common and widespread in today’s world.”

While we’ll let you be the judge of that, we’ve compiled a list of movies and TV shows that accurately describes the dangers of substance abuse and addiction. Please note, some of the recommendations might be triggering. 

Requiem for a Dream (2000)

Streaming on: Amazon Prime VideoRequiem for a dream
Darren Aronofsky’s psychological drama follows the lives of four individuals who are interconnected and how their lives unravel into oblivion due to drug abuse. But instead of demonizing his characters, Aronofsky humanizes them. You feel like you know these people, you understand their struggles and, in the end, you can’t help but feel deep empathy for them. Aronofsky teaches a very important lesson that people suffering from addictions aren’t the monsters hiding under your bed. They are real people, just like you and me. 

Let me just say this. You won’t be rewatching Requiem for the second time. This adaptation of Hubert Selby Jr.’s novel takes you through the dark annals of not only the “high” of drug addiction but also the “lows” of the consequences it brings us. It is unrelenting, dark and depressing, but it also carries some important lessons. I remember being stunned in silence at the end as the credits rolled. 

Trainspotting (1996)

Streaming on: Apple TVTrainspotting
Funnily enough, Trainspotting landed in a similar controversy as Euphoria when it came out in 1996. The Danny Boyle-directed movie follows the character of Renton (Ewan McGregor), a heroin addict, who is struggling to quit his addiction. Through the movie, we see how substance abuse causes misery, destruction and death in Renton’s life.  

Many claimed that it represented heroin in a positive light, and how it romanticized drug abuse. To which, Boyle gave an explanation similar to what Euphoria creator Sam Levinson had to say. He argued that Trainspotting showcases why people do drugs and how the temporary euphoria is a means of escape from their dark and grim world. 

Beautiful Boy (2018)

Streaming on: Amazon Prime VideoBeautiful boy

Beautiful Boy stars Steve Carrell and Timothée Chalamet as father and son, navigating the topic of teenage substance issues. What’s unique about Beautiful Boy is its dual perspective on how addiction affects both the user and those around them. 

Nick, played by Chalamet, has everything to be successful. He’s smart, creative and privileged. Yet, he finds it difficult to escape from the whirlpool of addiction. Meanwhile, David played by Carrell is desperate to help his son, by all means, necessary, but failing against the increasing odds. The film encapsulates how addiction does not discriminate against anyone. 

Traffic (2000)

Streaming on: Amazon Prime VideoTraffic

In a nutshell, this Oscar-winning film captures both the micro and macro perspective of losing the war on drugs. Based on BBC’s TV miniseries, Traffic shows how drug lords will do anything to keep the wheel spinning, and how the government-backed effort to eradicate them is losing the battle slowly. 

The Wire (2002-2008)

Streaming on: Disney+ HotstarThe Wire

I’ll admit I have a soft spot for The Wire; yes, even the later seasons. I think it is one of the very few shows which accurately describes how not only drug addiction slowly corrupts but also how its use is propagated means of violence.  It is very easy to describe this as a show about drug-dealing gangs on the street of Baltimore. It is much more than that. The fourth season of the show follows the story of four boys, and how society and the system fail them. It is heartbreaking, but an important watch. 

Skins (2007-2013)Skins

Some might say, Skins had to walk so Euphoria could run. The British teen drama set in the late 2000s shares a lot of similarities with the HBO series. Just like Euphoria, Skin does an incredible job of glamourizing the teen party culture, casual sex and drug experimentation. However, it is more focused, more grounded in reality. While the show may feel dated today in some regards, the theme is still relevant. 

The Basketball Diaries (1995)Basketball D

In one of his most standout portrayals, Leo plays the character of Jim, a basketball star in the making. However, his life is quickly derailed by the sudden onset of grief and sexual assault, pushing him towards a heroin addiction. 

Based on the autobiographical novel, Basketball Diaries is a hard-hitting watch that still has relevance today.