Did ‘Breaking Bad’ increase meth usage?

"Breaking Bad" was a wildly popular cable television show, and it dealt with a subject many viewers did not know about before: the production and distribution of meth. In the show, a chemistry teacher named Walter White collapses and finds out he’s dying from lung cancer. To get money for his family before he passes away, he starts cooking meth with a former high school student, Jesse Pinkman. The two are the stars of the show.

Since it was so popular, some people felt that it was promoting meth usage or production—despite the problems that the characters face in the show, which doesn’t depict the business in a positive light. So, did the use of meth go up while the show was on?

It appears that any worries about "Breaking Bad" were unfounded. People did know more about meth, and they did enjoy watching the show—it won numerous awards—but they didn’t make or use meth any more than they did before.

If anything, the show pushed people away from meth. In 2006, there were 731,000 meth users in the United States, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. "Breaking Bad" came on in 2008. When the data was again collected in 2012, there were just 440,000 meth users. That’s a huge drop and means that only 0.2 percent of the people in the United States were using the drug.

One official said that the numbers had never before been as high as they were in 2006, suggesting "Breaking Bad" was a deterrent.

If you have been charged with a drug violation, it’s important to be begin developing your defense strategy as soon as possible. An attorney can help you determine your legal options.

Source: Digiday, "Was ‘Breaking Bad’ Good for the Meth Business?," Brian Braiker, accessed May 06, 2016

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