Breaking Bad

10 Drug Related TV Shows With Addicting Side Effects

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Drugs are bad, of course. But the TV story possibilities are endless (and quite addictive). So what’s your fix? We’ve got uppers, downers, booze, pills, some Mad Men, some Breaking Bad and eight other shows to satisfy your cravings.

1. Breaking Bad
“We’re done when I say we’re done.”
Breaking Bad is perhaps the best examination of a man’s downward arc since The Godfather. Former schoolteacher Walter White is a good man…or is he? Do good intentions even matter when you’re cooking up crystal meth? As Walt and his partner Jesse descend further into a life of crime, Walter leaves his old self further and further behind—family, fatherhood; these things are sacrificed as a “good man” becomes a murderous drug lord. Is there a lesson here? Is there a moral? The lesson might be this: the further you go down the rabbit hole, the harder it is to get yourself back again.

2. Mad Men
“I’m Peggy Olson and I wanna smoke some marijuana.”
Mad Men begins in the early ’60s, when drinking like a fish was considered socially acceptable. But as the show progresses, and as we move into the later ’60s, other drugs start to pop up, including “marijuana cigarettes” and even—gasp!—LSD.

3. Nurse Jackie
“You know what, babe? Even when you’re telling the truth, it sounds like a lie.”
Vicodin, Adderall, Percocet, Oxycontin…it’s just another day in the life of Nurse Jackie. Hey, working in an emergency room can be stressful! Jackie does her best to keep it under wraps—for her patients and her family—but sometimes doing her best involves swallowing massive amounts of pills.

4. Oz
“There’s always a scar. Which is meant, I guess, to remind you that—even for a little while—someone made your heart beat faster.”
In Oz, prison isn’t the end of the drug underworld—it’s just the beginning. Augustus Hill struggles to survive day-to-day life in Oswald State Correctional Facility, surrounded by drugs, death and temptation. Drugs got him into this mess, but can he find a way out?

5. South Park
“It’s called ‘Cheesing.’ Because it’s FON-to-DUE.”
South Park has focused on pot, steroids, heroin and even cough medicine. But perhaps South Park’s most memorable foray into the world of drug use was the season twelve episode “Major Boobage,” in which the kids in town get into…cat urine (a.k.a., “Cheesing”). As the “Cheesing” epidemic spreads far and wide, the boys must find a way to save Kenny from his massive urine addiction. Can they save their friend in time? Just remember that drugs are bad, mmm-kay?

6. That ’70s Show
“You know, there’s a seedy subculture that buys drugs for recreation…I saw one time on an after-school special.”
That ’70s Show never actually showed anyone doing drugs. But when the kids were all huddling in a circle in the basement, it was pretty clear what was going on: a lot of bizarre spacey conversation that could (maybe) have (definitely) been the result of pot-smoking. That’s our theory, at least. Of course it took the parents on the show eight seasons to pick up on this.

7. The Wire
“Don’t matter who did what to who at this point. Fact is, we went to war, and now there ain’t no going back.”
The Wire takes the cops n’ criminals genre and turns it on its head. Creator David Simon is a former police reporter, and his adherence to realism pays off. In The Wire, addiction doesn’t just flow downward; it flows upward as well, infiltrating the police force, the city government and the media. It is an indictment of an entire society. But there aren’t “good guys” or “bad guys”—instead, there are just flawed human beings trying to survive amidst corruption.

8. True Blood
“Just…just don’t bite me, okay?”
Vampires can have problems too! In the world of True Blood, blood is the drug. Vampire blood, “V,” is even more powerful and alluring than human blood, and when humans take “V,” lots of crazy things can happen (hallucinations, healing powers, spiritual bonding, and, oh yeah, great sex). Selling “V” is illegal, but doesn’t stop corrupt humans and vampires from going to great lengths to buy and sell it.

9. United States of Tara
“Drugs not hugs.”
Unlike a lot of characters on our list, Tara is trying to resist using drugs—she wants to stay off the medication for her multiple personality disorder. Staying off the drugs makes life a lot crazier for everyone around her, but it might just let Tara be who she truly needs to be.

10. Weeds
“Let your freak flag fly.”
Much like Breaking Bad, Weeds features an ordinary suburban housewife plunged into a world of crime. Selling marijuana may seem harmless (at least compared to some other drugs), but in her quest for cash, Nancy Botwin manages to destroy her entire family. So long, white picket fence!

Watch Breaking Bad Wednesdays at 11/10C, following HAP & LEONARD at 10/9C, on SundanceTV.