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Zendaya Defends Teen Drug Use In ‘Euphoria’ After D.A.R.E Slams Show

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Zendaya is standing her ground when it comes to the portrayal of teen drug use on HBO’s “Euphoria.”

A representative for anti-drug campaign D.A.R.E. previously told TMZ that Season 2 of “Euphoria” chooses to “misguidedly and erroneously depict high schoolers using drugs, leading to “addiction, anonymous sex, violence, and other destructive behaviors as common and widespread in today’s world.”

They continued, “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.”

Zendaya, who plays high schooler Rue Bennett doesn’t agree.

“Our show is in no way a moral tale to teach people how to live their life or what they should be doing. 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,” Zendaya told Entertainment Weekly during a chat about the series.

“And maybe feel like they’re not the only one going through or dealing with what they’re dealing with.”

Nika King, who plays Leslie Bennett, mom to Zendaya’s Rue, agrees the subject matter “[is] definitely not pretty” in her conversation with EW, but that show runner Sam Levinson thought it was important to explore and “be seen.”

Levinson told Variety that Rue’s journey mirrors his own growing up.

“I spent the majority of my teenage years in and out of hospitals, rehabs and halfway houses. I was a drug addict, and I’d take anything and everything until I couldn’t hear or breathe or feel.”

Meanwhile HBO has renewed the Emmy-winning series for a season 3. Zendaya, who also nabbed an Emmy for her role, opened up to EW about what’s in store for Rue next season.

“We can’t leave her here,” she states, also being an executive producer on the HBO series. “It’s really important that there’s light at the end of the tunnel for her, because I think she has a lot of beauty inside of her. Whether or not she quite sees that yet, is her own thing.”

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