Zendaya Responds to D.A.R.E.'s Claims That 'Euphoria' Glorifies Drug Use

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Zendaya has her own thoughts about D.A.R.E.’s recent comments about Euphoria. In a recent interview, the Emmy-winning actress, who stars as Rue Bennett on the HBO series, opened up about the organization’s claims that the show glorifies teen drug use.  

"Our show is in no way a moral tale to teach people how to live their life or what they should be doing,” the 25-year-old told Entertainment Weekly

“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." 

Last week, the organization released a statement to TMZ about the series’ approach to teen drug use, sex and violence.

"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,” the statement read. 

“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,” the statement continued. 

D.A.R.E. added that it would like to speak to the series' creators to “collaborate” and present its concerns.  

Sunday’s episode took a tough look at the effects of Rue’s relapse. In the episode titled, "Stand Still Like the Hummingbird," the full hour was dedicated to Rue’s story after Jules (Hunter Schafer) revealed to her mother, Leslie (Nika King), that she had started using drugs again.

The episode started with Leslie and Rue's sister, Gia, (Storm Reid), holding an intervention that implodes when Leslie reveals she got rid of Rue's suitcase full of drugs. 

As a result, Rue deals with the consequences that come with avoiding treatment, running from her mother and the police and stealing. All while having withdrawals. 

Reid spoke with ET about filming the episode.  

“It was tough,” Reid said. “I feel like all of those scenes where we have to really try to corner and let her know that she is destroying herself, those are hard.”  

“And it’s not, I wouldn’t say for me, it’s not hard on an acting level,” she added. “But, like, I am human and even though I do become these characters and step in my characters' shoes, I’m a sensitive, emotional person and to just be in that space or in that state of mind or even to think that people go through this on a day-to-day basis is heartbreaking. So, I’m fortunate to play these great roles and be these characters, but it’s hard sometimes.” 

Prior to the episode, Zendaya shared a message with her fans. “In an interview I was asked about Rue’s journey this season,” she wrote next to a still from episode 5. “I guess this is what I hope we hold onto and are left with in the end…Episode 5 tonight.”  

Euphoria season 2 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO and HBO Max.

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