Blog | Crystal Meth Addiction

The pros and cons of Breaking Bad and its portrayal of crystal meth addiction and dealing

AMC’s hit show Breaking Bad stars Bryan Cranston as Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher with a mountain of bills, a pregnant wife, and a cancer diagnosis that says he has less than two years to live. In order to make ends meet, and breathe some excitement into his mundane life, he uses his chemistry knowledge to produce crystal meth.

Brian Cranston as Walter WhiteAs the story moves on, Walter finds himself engaged in gunplay, drug running and even murder. As Walter has success with meth production, he becomes a drug dealer who makes millions of dollars. Eventually, Walter becomes a drug kingpin who builds an empire.

The show pulls few punches and is extremely graphic in its subject matter. But how realistic is the portrayal of drug addiction—specifically crystal meth addiction—on Breaking Bad? Does the show glamorize the use and sale of the drug? Or does the show provide a proper deterrent for young people who are considering taking crystal meth?

The result is a mixture of both options, which leaves us to consider the pros and cons of the show.

Pros of Breaking Bad

  • A gritty portrayal of the crystal meth production business
  • A hard look at the desperation of those addicted to crystal meth
  • Does not create any “saints” among those involved in the crystal meth distribution process.
  • The show portrays the damage between relationships—specifically with family and friends—through drug abuse.

Cons of Breaking Bad

  • Excuses drug sales as a way of supporting one’s family
  • Does not spend nearly enough time dealing with the individual fall out of crystal meth use.
  • Portrays teens and kids at risk using dark comedy that could distract from the seriousness of their real-life counterparts situations.

It is important to remember that Breaking Bad is a television show, not a documentary. With some characters, their drug abuse leads to bad decisions. In many ways, death plays a large character in the show. One character even dies from heroin use. However, there is not any television show that will give you an accurate portrayal of drug abuse. We only see what the screenwriters want us to see. There are not editors or writers cleaning up what happens in real life. Drug abuse leads to pain and broken lives. While Breaking Bad shows this to an extent, it cannot reflect real life.

If you struggle with crystal meth addiction, you likely have started to see the physical side effects: weight loss, hallucinations, mouth problems, erratic behavior, sores on your skin, and lack of sleep. Don’t wait any longer to seek help. Drug addiction is a chronic disease like cardiovascular disease.[1]

Please contact us now at Michael’s House at 760-548-4032 to speak with an admissions coordinator. The professionals at Michael’s House can help you break the cycle of addiction. If you have insurance, please have that information available as we can check to see what forms of treatment are covered. Please take the first step so you can get the help you need today.


[1] https://archives.drugabuse.gov/content-types/publication/drug-abuse-addiction-one-americas-most-challenging-public-health-problems/addiction-chronic-disease Addiction is a Chronic Disease.