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It’s no secret that many will blame TV shows, movies, or video games for things. This includes violence, bad behavior, or drug use. This guide will discuss whether or not such movies that feature drug use sets a bad precedent. 

We will also provide you with a list of a few movies that may have been seen as glorifying drug use. If you or someone you know may be dealing with drug abuse, visit the New Waters Recovery Website for more information on how to get the help you need. Let’s discuss this topic further. 

Movies that glorified drug use 

The following is a list of movies that were believed to glorify drug use. Some of them are among the most popular films of all time. These films have drug use that occurs frequently.

 Let’s take a look now at the following on the list:


This 1983 cult classic film features Al Pacino playing Tony Montana. Montana arrives in the United States via Cuba during the Mariel Boat Landing. When he makes his new life in Miami, he soon becomes a drug lord. 

Scarface features cocaine, which is a drug that is used all throughout the movie. Montana himself, including the woman who becomes his wife (played by Michelle Pfieffer), are soon ‘getting high on their own supply.’ 

Cocaine use had risen on its own accord during the 1980s. Soon, crack cocaine began to make its presence known. Either way, both are considered deadly drugs that would kill someone even on the first try.

Wolf of Wall Street 

A Martin Scorcese-directed movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio is a guaranteed home run. This film is based on the true story of Jordan Belfort. The Wall Street trader started an investment firm that would soon defraud their investors.

While he’s living the multi-millionaire life, he gets into drugs heavily. Belfort and his associates use everything from cocaine to quaaludes, among others. Some have criticized that people who had seen the movie wanted to emulate their life after the man who would spend time in federal prison on white-collar crimes. 

However, Jordan Belfort has turned his life around since his incarceration. He’s still making money, albeit legally. There is no need to emulate someone, even if they are living their life for better or worse.

Pulp Fiction 

The 1994 film, directed by Quentin Tarintino, features Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, and Uma Thurman among an all-star cast. Mia Wallace, played by Thurman, is the wife of a crime boss that is addicted to cocaine. 

Vincent Vega, played by Travolta, is a hitman who also has a heroin addiction. In one scene, Mia finds Vincent’s heroin stash in his jacket. She mistakes it for cocaine and snorts it to the point where she overdoses. 

Even though she survives the ordeal, it is enough to kill a person in real life. Even though there is a process to help ‘bring someone back to life,’ it may send the wrong message. It may be OK to do as many drugs as possible, knowing there is a possible chance of survival. 

This should not be the case. You may try drugs once and die from an accidental overdose. Even if you do, help may never come until it’s too late.

28 Days 

Sandra Bullock plays Gwen, a newspaper columnist with an alcohol problem. She ruins her sister’s wedding when she’s drunk. After destroying the wedding cake, Gwen tries to make it right by attempting to replace it. 

On the way to a nearby bakery, she crashes into a house. Gwen is faced with prison time or 28 days in rehab. She chooses rehab and decides to better herself. After her treatment, she makes amends with her friends and family. 

This movie may glorify the use of alcohol, but it also points to the dangers that can arise. This includes not being aware of your actions. This also points out that rehab is the best option rather than doing time for a crime committed. 

This movie should inspire someone to get the help they need for their substance abuse problem. It shouldn’t be the other way around. 28 Days isn’t the only movie that would inspire someone to get help whenever they are struggling. 

Are movies to blame for substance abuse? 

Some may say yes, while others say no. It all comes down to how a person takes action. It may trigger a temptation for someone to use drugs or alcohol. 

It comes down to the self-control of a person. Movies, TV shows, and video games never intend to encourage people to mimic the actions of characters. However, they warn audiences of what the rating is and why it has it. 

They also state that it contains certain activities, such as drug use. They don’t need to be as specific as possible. They will explicitly state that drug use is in the film (even if it’s throughout the entirety).  

For this reason, it will give someone a choice: watch it or not. You don’t need to watch movies in order to be inspired by drug use. Starting up can be due to other factors such as mental disorders, your environment, and much more. 

The debate will be ongoing. But it’s your best judgment to determine whether or not movies are to blame for drug use.

Final Thoughts 

Movies may be setting a bad precedent for some in terms of drug use. Again, it may be up to their own choices. Either watch the movie or not. 

Don’t use drugs because a movie told you to. In fact, don’t use drugs at all. If you are using them on a regular basis, there may be a reason why you started. 

With that said, it is important to get the help you need. The sooner you do, the better off you’ll be. When you follow through with a treatment plan, you will succeed in beating your addiction.