If you have not watched the TV show, Breaking Bad yet, you probably have people in your life recommending that you watch it. The writing is engaging and suspenseful, and the characters are dynamic and surprisingly lovable.
The Show’s Premise
The show follows Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, a man who teaches high school chemistry. When he is diagnosed with cancer, while his wife is pregnant with the couple’s second child, Walter feels pressure to provide better financially for his family with the new possibility that he may no longer be around. Walt decides that manufacturing and selling crystal meth, with former student Jesse Pinkman, played by Aaron Paul, is the way to use his knowledge and years of experience to make a quick chunk of cash.
The show takes the viewer through the world of methamphetamines, from creation to use, and everything in between. The intrigue of such a powerful drug has drawn millions of consistent viewers and the reward of critics, mainly in the form of Emmys.
What Impact is Breaking Bad Having on Methamphetamine Addiction?
Crystal meth, and methamphetamines in other forms, are highly addictive and extremely physically damaging. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that approximately 13 million people, aged 12 years and older, have abused a form of methamphetamine in their lifetime. Has that number been influenced by a show about crystal meth?
Statistics show that the average number of meth each month users went from 731,000 in 2006 down to 529,000 in 2007, further down to 314,000 in 2008 (the year Breaking Bad started on AMC), and then back up to 502,000 in 2009. Is there a correlation?
It is hard to put a definitive answer to that question, but there have been several noted parallels between what is happening on the show and what law enforcement officials are seeing on the streets. For example, Walt’s blue-tinted, 99% pure recipe for crystal meth is said to be mimicked by real crystal meth manufacturers. Coincidence? Chicken-or-the-egg?
People are using crystal meth whether it is on television or not. Hopefully the show’s storyline is not leading those who would not otherwise try a drug like meth, to experimenting just because it is on TV.
What Do Methamphetamines Do to the Human Body?
Stimulant drugs, like crystal meth, give users a feeling of extra energy. The price of this high include a whole set of dangerous side effects: damage to blood vessels in the brain that can lead to stroke, paranoia and possible psychosis, corrosion of the nose lining, severe tooth decay (referred to as meth mouth), nausea, hypertension, tremors, itchy skin, acne, heart inflammation, irregular heartbeat, convulsions, elevated body temperature, and sexual dysfunction.
Meth users quickly progress to the point of addiction, which is characterized by constant agitation and irritability, excessive weight loss, insomnia, compulsive behavior, violent outbursts, and hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and psychosis.
Although Jesse Pink man and other characters on the show are shown using crystal meth, the show does not have a drug-pushing message. Instead, Vince Gilligan, the show’s creator, produces a fictional world that people enjoy watching.