Zendaya defends Euphoria amid accusations of ‘glorifying’ drug use and anonymous sex

Zendaya, who is an actor, portrays Rue a character in the HBO TV show Euphoria

Zendaya has defended Euphoria after the HBO series was accused of glamorising drug use by the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) programme.

The hit teen drama has dealt with a host of subject matters over the last two seasons, including Rue’s (Zendaya) issues with drug use and addiction. Anti-drug organisation DARE recently issued a statement claiming that Euphoria ‘misguidedly glorifies’ “drug use, addiction” and “anonymous sex”.

However, Zendaya has pushed back against DARE’s take in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, saying the show is in “no way a moral tale”.

“Our show is in no way a moral tale to teach people how to live their life or what they should be doing,” she said. “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.”

She continued: “And maybe feel like they’re not the only one going through or dealing with what they’re dealing with.”

Zendaya added that her “biggest hope” for the show is that audience members can “connect to it and those who need to heal and grow with Rue” will be able to “feel that hope and feel that change in her”.

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

In January, DARE said in a statement that 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”.

The anti-drug organisation, which was established in 1983 during the Ronald Reagan-era “War on Drugs”, added that it would like to meet with representatives for Euphoria to present its concerns.

The DARE statement added: “It is unfortunate that HBO, social media, television program reviewers, and paid advertising have chosen to refer to the show as ‘groundbreaking’, rather than recognising the potential negative consequences on school age children who today face unparalleled risks and mental health challenges.”

If you or someone you know wants confidential advice about drug abuse and addiction, you can get support and help from FRANK. Readers in the UK can call 0300 123 6600, text 82111 or contact through their website 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can also live chat with FRANK from 2pm to 6pm, seven days a week.

Readers in the US can contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration‘s (SAMHSA) national helpline for free, confidential information and treatment referral. The helpline is open at all times throughout the year and can be reached at 1-800-662-HELP.