How is Drug Use Shown on TV?

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It’s pretty much no surprise that when you go to watch pretty much any tv show, there’s going to be a fair share of drug use. Some of it is as benign as a someone smoking a cigarette or having a glass of alcohol, and we really don’t blink an eye. Other shows, go with the full cornucopia of illicit drugs (pot, meth, heroin, etc…), and use them as plot devices, and we still don’t blink. You can pretty much pick any show off the top of your head and remember a storyline that involved someone getting fucked up by a drug, and it turning into a very special episode about addiction and recovery. Or, it’s just all used as a big joke.

Researchers at Project Know, a site that aims to educate its audience on drug addiction, alcohol abuse and behavioural disorders, noticed how prevalent drug use was on tv and started wondering what the increased visibility of substance use has on audiences, and how the shows themselves are handling the topic. They took a look at over 70,000 television scripts to figure out which shows provoked some important conversations, and which ones just made getting fucked up funny.

Take a look. And for the record, we do like to party… responsibly.