The media has been the alleged root of numerous societal issues over the years, from the ‘body image’ standards set by models (today aided by Photoshop,) to the assumption that viewing a violent film results in a ‘monkey see, monkey do’ scenario. Recently the media has been the center of a discussion regarding increased use in the life threatening drug ‘crystal meth’. Claiming the spike is due to the very confronting TV show, ‘Breaking Bad’.
It’s been suggested the show ‘glamorised’ the cooking, distribution and taking of meth (Braiker 2013). Word of copycat dealers on the streets of Albuquerque dying their meth blue may be evidence of this, having been inspired by the blue, pure form Walter White cooks on the show (McQueenie 2014). (Ironically the dye used by copycats decreases the purity dramatically, but hey that’s marketing!). Yet it’s been far wider claimed that anyone who actually watched the show from an outsiders perspective (ie. Not already a meth dealer) found the show’s disturbingly accurate depictions of association with the drug, deter any hankering to exist in that scheme of things.
Despite this, there has been a 400% increase in Britain in the amounts of attempts to smuggle the drug into the country in the last five years… the same amount of time the shows been on the air, how convenient. Alongside increased seizures of the substance though the US. (Ledwith 2014)
But is Breaking Bad all to blame?
To put the weight of these statistics entirely on the shoulders of Heisenberg and his meth, is the extreme. Methamphetamine is not by any means a ‘new’ drug, it’s been around destroying lives and eating away at people’s hard earned money since its synthesis in 1902. To assume that a healthy individual will interpret the show with a causal reaction, and suddenly become a meth addict suggests very little faith in human comprehension of judging circumstances. In order for someone to take such a harmful, life altering drug brings forward a whole other range of psychological, lifestyle, genetic, financial issues, and cannot be related directly to the watching of a TV show.
Besides, did anyone ask the people using or dealing the drug if they’d ever seen a single episode?
- Braiker, B 2013, Was ‘Breaking Bad’ good for the meth business? Digiday, viewed 14 March 2014
- McQueeny, K 2014 Drug Dealers inspired by ‘Breaking Bad’ peddle blue dyed meth on the streets of Albuquerque Metro, viewed 14 March 2014
- Ledwith, M 2014 Breaking Bad Britain: Crystal meth gain stronghold in UK with 400 per cent surge in attempts to smuggle in the deadly drug Daily Mail, viewed 14 March 2014