Breaking Bad is a highly-popular television series that centers on a high-school teacher that is diagnosed with an inoperable form of lung cancer. To pay for his treatment and secure his family’s future, he decides to turn to producing and selling crystallized methamphetamine, crystal meth, with a former student. The drama that surrounds the main character and his exploits makes for addictive television. However, the show does have its moments where its portrayal of addiction is not accurate. Here are five ways Breaking Bad gives the wrong idea about drug addiction.
Every Addict Looks Like a Degenerate Desperate For Their Next Fix
The show often shows drug users as people who would do anything for their next fix. The drug addicts were portrayed as dingy, degenerates that nervously knock on the door of their dealer. In reality, drug addicts are a diverse group of people. Yes, there are some addicts that have a stereotypical “look”. However, there are people who are considered functional addicts. These people though hung up on drug addiction are able to hold a job, do not have an unappealing look and are not committing crimes to get high.
Narcotics Anonymous (NA) Meetings Are Led By Professionals
In the show, Jesse Pinkman, the protagonist’s drug manufacturing partner, is seen going through treatment for his drug addiction. The NA meeting seems to be led by a professional and seems to only have members with the stereotypical appearance. NA meetings are open to everyone and you will see people from all walks of life. Also, a professional psychologist or therapist does not lead the meetings. People who are in recovery or are struggling with their drug addiction often lead these meetings.
Overcoming Addiction Is Not Easy
One of the main characters does not just manufacture crystal meth, he was a crystal meth user. While the show does depict Jesse Pinkman in an NA meeting, the show does gloss over how the use of a highly addictive drug can affect a person both physically and psychologically. As the main character, Pinkman has to be a likeable person, the show does not fully-depict the on-going struggle and the grasp that drugs can have on a person. Overcoming drug addiction is not a simple process and relapse often occurs.
Ignores the Effects That Drugs Have on the Body
Again, drug users do not have a particular “look”. However, there are certain drugs that with prolonged use will have an effect on the body. Crystal meth usage is a drug where people will often go through physiological changes that will affect how they look and their personality.
All Addicts are Criminals
This is another stereotype illustrated in Breaking Bad. While the need to feed a drug addiction may lead people to engage in negative behaviors, this is not the case for everyone. The addict as a criminal image is something that society has used to stigmatize drug use and addiction for quite some time. While drug addiction is bad, being an addict does not always mean resorting to crime.
Unfortunately, Hollywood has had a problem accurately portraying the life and struggles of addiction. The stories often glorify certain aspects and demonize others. However, drug addiction is a real issue that is faced by real people. If you or someone you know is dealing with addiction, please contact a drug treatment counselor for assistance.