Shocking Rise In Meth Use. Blame Breaking Bad?

Suzanne Robertson
Could global success of the wildly popular and critically-acclaimed drama be to blame for a spike in meth use?

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction has revealed how parts of the EU are being flooded with methamphetamine. Germany has seen usage surge by 51% and border patrols in Britain have seen attempts to smuggle crystal meth into the country rise by 400% in the past year.

Now a leading celebrity and media culture author has suggested that the hit show Breaking Bad "instantly makes people curious" about crystal meth and might be to blame. 

On Monday Staffordshire University's Professor Ellis Cashmore, an author and expert on celebrity and media culture, said having the main plot of a hit show revolve around meth instantly boosts its appeal. 

"Although the show does not go out to glamorize the drug, its very inclusion promotes interest in that substance. The fact it is a central premise to almost the entire series would serve to boost this interest for people who perhaps had not encountered it before," said Cashmore. 

He continued, "One of the central protagonists Jessie, played by Aaron Paul, is portrayed as a drug addict and he is now a Hollywood A-Lister. He is a bit of a sex symbol."

(In related news, Vince Gilligan, the shows creator said that his one Breaking Bad regret is that Jesse Pinkman's teeth were too perfect.)

Cashmore isn't surprised that following the success of the show, there's be a spike in use. "The fact millions of people have watched the show and been entertained by it almost instantly glamorizes its subject matter, whether deliberate or not."

Recent reports show that crystal meth has surpassed cocaine as the drug of choice for young people. 

This isn't the first time a show has been taken to task for dangerous health habits. The TV drama series Mad Men triggered a dramatic boom in the sales of Lucky Strike cigarettes, causing outrage among anti-smoking campaigners. The show was also blamed for a surge in the popularity of Canadian Club Whisky. 

Breaking Bad has been on the hot seat recently. The show recently made headlines after a Florida mom had action figure toys of the shows stars pulled from toy stores. Star Bryan Cranston responded on Twitter.  Will Cranston comment on this news? Stay tuned...and stay off drugs!