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“Breaking Bad” Meets Reality

“Breaking Bad” starring Bryon Cranston and Aaron Paul and produced by Vince Gilligan (who wrote on the series, “The X-Files”) is an AMC TV series that tells the story of a high school chemistry teacher who, after finding out that he has lung cancer, decides to start making and selling methamphetamine with a former student to make sure that his family is taken care of financially after he dies.

The series won six Emmy Awards (part of the twenty six total awards the series racked up while it was on the air) and has a huge following. Questions have been brought up about the reality of the show’s concept. Does this show really depict the truth about “cooking,” selling, and using meth?

Fact or Fiction

Meth addicts and producers alike have sounded out on the show “Breaking Bad” and whether or not it is true to form. Everyone agreed that it is a great show and while there were conflicting opinions on whether the show was based in reality, the unanimous decision was that it was real enough. One recovering addict (who produced, sold and used many years ago) said that the show reminded him of himself when he was producing meth. The one thing that was different, though, he said, was that his life was so much worse than Walt’s and Jesse’s in the show (the teacher and student, respectively).

One current meth user says that it is a very tame representation of what being involved with meth is actually like. And one past producer of meth has probably the most astute opinion of all: while the show is exciting and packed with drama and action, there is very little fact and information about the drug itself in “Breaking Bad.”

The user (who asked to remain anonymous) said that he was “irritated” with one of the few facts that was shown on “Breaking Bad” and that was the one about “meth mouth.” The show apparently portrayed meth mouth  (excessive tooth decay ) as something that all meth addicts get from the chemicals that meth is made from, when in actuality, meth mouth comes from having dry mouth, drinking soda (or drinks with a lot of sugar in them) and lack of good general oral hygiene.

“There are plenty of meth addicts running around with perfectly fine teeth,” he said.

Then, there are fans (who aren’t addicted to meth) that say that the show glorifies the use of meth and that it makes the use of meth look “glamorous.” Truth is that meth is a horrible drug that produces even more horrible consequences when used or produced. The people who offered their input about the show spoke from firsthand knowledge.

Some of them had seen loved ones addicted to the drug go through the meth nightmare, some of them had next-door neighbors who had labs in their homes, and some pointed out things that weren’t shown in “Breaking Bad”: spousal abuse, child abuse, addicted parents losing children to foster homes, etc.

There is one thing that the show portrays that is surprising accurate, according to scientists, and that is how the drug is produced or “cooked”. Vince Gilligan said that it was extremely important for the show to get the science of making it just right portrayed correctly. Donna Nelson, who is a professor of organic chemistry at the University of Oklahoma, saw that Gilligan needed a chemist adviser and called and volunteered her assistance. Thus, that part of the show has been unanimously declared authentic.

There is one thing certain about meth use: the appalling repercussions from the abuse of this drug are endless. “Breaking Bad” may not portray all of the problems that meth causes, but it does a good job introducing the concept to its viewers.

This guest post article was written and provided by Gregg Gustafson who is a freelance writer and consultant for Gustafson works with individuals who suffer from drug abuse, in turn referring them to some of the most prestige long term drug rehab centers active today.

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