Euphoria: A Plea for Help in the United States’ School System

by The Cowl Editor on February 18, 2022


By Olivia Bretzman ’22

Content Warning: This piece contains discussion of drug use and addiction. 

HBO recently released season two of Euphoria, the hit show about teenage lives filled with real-life emotional, mental health, LGBTQ+, drug, and family struggles.

The show follows Rue, played by Zendaya, during her battle with drugs and rehabilitation.  It describes Rue as a character who has “no plans to stay clean.”  Watching the show, one can see the troubling reality of drug abuse among young people.

Wherever Rue goes, drugs seem to follow. They are readily accessible, and seem to be the answer to maintain a social existence as well as her mental health. .

According to IMDb, Euphoria has won three Primetime Emmys and various other awards. There is no question about the allure in the intensity of the show itself.

This general excitement and awe about the show is highlighted on social platforms. Social media has been blowing up about Euphoria, particularly TikTok, one of the most-used platforms by young, teenage people.

When scrolling, one can find many TikToks about the show itself, its characters, etc. But underneath the fan-following, there is a dark and worrisome reality that highlights the violence and drug-abuse rampant within the United States school system.

These particular TikTokers state things like, “You think Euphoria is a joke? Have you ever attended X high school in X city?” or “When Rue from Euphoria is your reality” followed by blurry, tear-filled photos of drugged-up nights and family battles in high school.

Other TikToks include Euphoria-like stories that give legitimate examples of violence, drugs, addiction, mental health crises, etc. in various high schools around the states.

Amazing, yes. Terrifying? Absolutely. These TikToks are no joke. They are a testament to the opioid crisis that plagues our population starting at the most fundamental stages of development.

The New York Times states, “Overdose deaths in the United States has exceeded 100,000 a year, more than the toll of car crashes and gun fatalities combined.”

As a country, we are failing. We are failing the mental health of the United States through poor drug control, failure to regulate medicinal use, the lack of medical and therapeutic support in our schools, failure to provide easily accessible rehabilitation, and the lack of support within familial units. Drugs are exceedingly available and getting more accessible by the minute.

 Euphoria has simply opened the door to have more open conversations about this horrid reality within our youngest population. The sad reality is no one with true power can really see the severity without being exposed to its darkness firsthand. 

Because of the media today, unless experienced, glamourized television series seem like fictional dramatizations depicting far away problems. However, social media is proving otherwise, emphasizing that something else needs to be done.

The Providence College community itself has been exposed to these crises more times than it would like to admit. Many gloss over these tragedies by not telling the true stories of victims who die of overdoses or purposefully overdose to feel better. 

Mental health and drug addiction among young adults is no joke.  Our own school proves it along with the rest of the U.S. school system, highlighted by Euphoria and its glamourization of the tragedies that students face.

To aid in this country-wide crisis, one can do a few things. Check in on your family and friends, especially those who seem to be hurting or masking their pain with substances.  Sadly, this crisis is not going anywhere any time soon,  but sometimes a smile or a call can make a huge difference.