A recent story showed that a student at Leeds Beckett University in England modeled himself after Walter White, fictional star character of AMC’s television show, Breaking Bad. In the show, Walter White is a teacher who makes and sells drugs to pay for his medical bills. The ring leader, Liam Reynolds, organized a group of students in a complex drug operation that imported MDMA, LSD and marijuana into the UK.
This isn’t the only incident of the AMC show having a negative effect across Europe.
In November 2014, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction reported a rise in methamphetamine across Europe with Germany showing the steepest rise at a 51% increase. In Britain, border guards have seen a 400% increase in smuggling attempts.
Professor Ellis Cashmore, of Staffordshire University, blames Breaking Bad for encouraging curiosity about the substance. “The fact it is a central premise to almost the entire series would serve to boost this interest for people who perhaps had not encountered it before.” Cashmore also says that although the show promotes the drug’s “most destructive side, it will still appeal to somebody.”
“I’m not surprised following the success of Breaking Bad that we have news of a surge in the use of methamphetamine. The fact millions of people have watched the show and been entertained by it almost instantly glamorizes its subject matter, whether deliberate or not.”
This same rise was not seen in the United States during the phenomena of AMC’s show.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, past-month use of methamphetamine was less common in 2013, when the series ended, than it was in 2008, when the series started.
However, in 2015, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), shows the number of meth lab injuries have increased. Law enforcement officers make up a majority of these injuries. The report showed that forty-two officers were injured, many through respiratory irritation.
Missouri was once the meth capital of the United States but rates have been dropping recently. Missouri is now number 3, behind Indiana and Tennessee.