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Zendaya Hits Back at Euphoria Critics Who Claim Show is 'Glorifying' Drug Use

Zendaya Hits Back at Euphoria Critics Who Claim Show is 'Glorifying' Drug Use

Instagram/ Zendaya

Zendaya has taken a firm stand against critics of the Emmy-winning high school drama series who claim the show glorifies drugs.

The anti-drug educational organization D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) put out a statement last month denouncing the show for its depiction of teenage drug use saying Euphoria was,

“misguidedly glorifying and erroneously depicting high-school student drug use.”

Euphoria is currently in its second season.

Zendaya, who plays Rue, a depressed drug addict in the series, responded to the statement in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

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

The full statement from D.A.R.E. reads,

“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.”

Zendaya continued to defend the show, stressing its importance and the ability of its characters to resonate so strongly with viewers in such a meaningful way.

“I’ve had a lot of people reach out and find so many parallels from all ages, all walks of life,” Zendaya said. “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 the latest episode of the season, Rue goes on a withdrawal-fueled rampage searching for drugs that her mother flushed down the toilet and destroying her house that she lives in with her mother and younger sister.

Zendaya reiterated the shows intent was not to glorify drugs rather present a true picture of an addict in the

“midst of a degenerative disease… [that’s] taking control of her life. And in many ways she feels out of control. She doesn’t have the ability to control her emotions, her body.”

The actress explained that season two was meant to go more in depth into Rue's internal pain and suffering and the subsequent effects her disease has on her loved ones and those around her.

In a message shared to Instagram on Monday after the fifth episode aired, Zendaya reflected on Rue's journey and detailed her hopes for her character as the season comes closer to the end.

"Its my hope for people watching that they still see her as a person worthy of their love. And worthy of their time, and that she has a redemptive quality still, and that we see the good in her still, even if she can't see it in herself."

She continued,

"I think that if people can go with her through that, and get to the end, and still have hope for her future, and watch her make the changes and steps to heal and humanize through her sobriety journey and her addiction, then maybe they can extend that to people in real life."

Euphoria airs new episodes Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and HBO Max.

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Peri Allen