Call it random coincidence or influence, the amount of meth labs and users alike have reported a continued decline in numbers since Breaking Bad has been on the air. Market Watch reported that Breaking Bad has a influential connection to the decline:
According to the most recent data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than 400,000 people age 12 and over were users of methamphetamine in 2011. That is similar to the total each year from 2007 to 2010 but a drop from peak use, between 2002 and 2006, when the number of users was consistently closer to 700,000.
The show has a way of depicting the danger and high intensity aspects of the meth process. Experts have given the show a nod of appreciation of the science created on the show. Screen Rant shares when Breaking Bad star, Bryan Cranston visited the Howard Stern show late last year, he revealed pretty surprising information on how clearly realistic the show delves into the meth industry: “We were taught how to make meth (by) DEA chemists who were our consultants on the show. We didn’t cook it, but we were told exactly the process at that high level.”
HNGN shares that enforcement has been up, but is that because the show has outlined how exactly the Drug Enforcement Administration can find and review tips of the explosive drug? The Wall Street Journal spoke to Rusty Payne of the DEA, who credited much of the success to increased oversight. The show did and cannot be denied, bring the spotlight to a very real and dangerous drug that has hidden in the shadows of society for far too long.
Perhaps, that alone can contribute to the decline in the industry. Much like anything taboo, once it has been figured out, so to speak, and openly reviewed, the taboo is gone. In addition, the many videos and pictures of before and after addicts of meth create a grimace for those who considered but stepped back from the temptation.
Oddly enough, it is this drug per About’s Dr. Anne Marie Helmenstine, that is prescribed for “obesity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy.” Dr. Anne shares some of the unsavory side effects associated to this addictive drug for chronic users:
- Tolerance (needing more of the drug to get the same effect)
- Drug craving
- Temporary weight loss
- Withdrawal symptoms including depression and anhedonia
- “Meth Mouth” where teeth rapidly decay and fall out
- Drug-related psychosis (may last for months or years after drug use is discontinued)
Breaking Bad could be credited for definitely bringing an awareness to this drug and the industry. The show has clearly affected many as it consistently reports over 2.9 million viewers watch the series. In addition, the final episode is currently underway which was directed by Cranston. Speculation surrounds the season finale if Walt (played by Cranston) will break away from the industry altogether. Rumors lean that way or towards someone exposing the “infamous Heisenberg.” Excitement for the show remains the only addiction in a falling interest in the real world of meth. Perhaps Breaking Bad had its influence or maybe it didn’t. Regardless of the fact or myth, the numbers within the industry are declining and that is something worthy to note.