In January 2022, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, or D.A.R.E. called out the hit HBO teen drama Euphoria for its depiction of drug use, sex, and violence. Zendaya, who plays one of the lead characters on the show, strongly responded to critics. But what did she say?

D.A.R.E. takes a dig at Euphoria

D.A.R.E claims Euphoria promotes sex, violence and drug use amog teenagers

Euphoria, which premiered in 2019, follows Rue (played by Zendaya), a high school student struggling with addiction amid relationships, friendships, and her home life.

D.A.R.E which was established in the 1980s during the Ronald Reagan-era “war on drugs,” advocates for a zero-tolerance policy on drugs. The organization said in a statement against the show,

“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,”

D.A.R.E added it would like to consult with representatives of the show to present its concerns.

The statement further reads,

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

Zendaya responds to critics

A month after the statement from D.A.R.E and growing criticism against the show, Zendaya responded.

Now, the actress, who happens to be an executive producer on the series, posted a statement on social media warning viewers that the show could be triggering to some and emphasizing that it is for mature audiences.

She said,

“I know I’ve said this before, but I do want to reiterate to everyone that Euphoria is for mature audiences. This season, maybe even more so than the last, is deeply emotional and deals with subject matter that can be triggering and difficult to watch,”

She added that viewers should “only watch it if you feel comfortable.”

Zendaya posted a similar warning before the show’s debut in 2019 saying,

“Just a reminder before tonight’s premiere, that Euphoria is for mature audiences. It’s a raw and honest portrait of addiction, anxiety, and the difficulties of navigating life today. There are scenes that are graphic, hard to watch, and can be triggering. Please only watch if you feel you can handle it.”

The show also makes it a point to run a disclaimer about mental health with a phone number for the National Alliance of Mental Health runs ahead of episodes dealing with mental health issues.

Euphoria is slammed by D.A.R.E

While HBO did not respond to critics, Zendaya told Entertainment Weekly that people should not be modeling their lives after Rue. She stated,

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

What are your thoughts? Does Euphoria promote addiction and drug use or is it helping today’s youth cope with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety? Let us know in the comments. Don’t forget to follow hiptoro for the latest celebrity news and gossip.

Source: Entertainment Weekly