Television is a powerful tool that can provide us with an insight into different worlds and perspectives we don’t know yet. More than entertainment, many TV shows touch on pretty sensitive topics, like substance use disorders. While many movies glorify drug use and alcoholism, these TV shows about addiction offer a different view, showing us the real hurdles of substance abuse.
Warning: We included the trailers for these TV shows about addiction and they might contain triggering images, situations, and more.
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Mom [CBS]
- 2 2. The Trade [Showtime]
- 3 3. Recovery Road [Freeform]
- 4 4. Euphoria [HBO]
- 5 5. Degrassi [Amazon Prime]
- 6 6. 90210 [The CW]
- 7 7. Skins [Hulu]
- 8 8. Shameless [Netflix]
- 9 9. Feel Good [Netflix]
- 10 10. BoJack Horseman [Netflix]
- 11 11. Catastrophe [Amazon Prime]
- 12 12. Nurse Jackie [Showtime]
- 13 13. Intervention [A&E]
- 14 14. Love [Netflix]
- 15 15. How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) [Netflix]
- 16 Remember
1. Mom [CBS]
Mom follows single mom Christy as she navigates raising two children and maintaining newfound sobriety when her passive-aggressive, recovering alcoholic mom enters the picture criticizing Christy’s life. The show follows the pair as they navigate addiction recovery’s ups and downs, fix a dysfunctional relationship, and remain optimistic as they both find what they want from life.
2. The Trade [Showtime]
The trade is a docu-series that explores the opioid epidemic, but it does it from a different perspective. As the nation fights to end this epidemic, The Trade takes a closer look at how it’s affecting the addicts, growers, cartel bosses, law enforcement, and communities involved in the drug war in Mexico and the United States.
3. Recovery Road [Freeform]
This short-lived TV show about addiction followed Maddie, a teenager with a reputation as a party girl and drug user. She faces the decision of being expelled from school or entering rehab. When she chooses the latter, the show follows her as she moves into a rehab facility and starts her walk on the recovery road.
4. Euphoria [HBO]
The American adaptation of an Israeli show, Euphoria, follows a 17-year-old drug addict fresh out of rehab with no plans to stay clean. Around her are a group of friends with complex issues of their navigating sexual insecurities, body issues, and more. The show follows the group through a set of substance-enhanced parties and the anxiety that comes along with their struggles.
5. Degrassi [Amazon Prime]
This classic TV show follows the lives of those on Degrassi Street. This TV show about addiction, sexuality, growing up, and parents are one of the most relatable shows about high-school life you’ll find. The show went on from 2001 to 2015 and even went on to have related shows, including The Kids of Degrassi Street and Degrassi Talks. To this date, many still remember Degrassi as a final show for them.
6. 90210 [The CW]
Inspired by Beverly Hills, 90210 shows an insightful look at the world of privilege. After high school, the show follows a group of kids that are learning how to become adults. But, for those living in the world-famous zip code, that includes plenty of substance-enhanced parties, addiction struggles, relationship issues, and so much more.
7. Skins [Hulu]
The show follows a group of teenagers in England, diving deep into substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, sexuality, eating disorders, and mental illness. The show was unique because all of the cast was amateur, and they were all replaced every two seasons as the teenage group left school. This raw and emotional show shows some of the dark sides of growing up.
8. Shameless [Netflix]
Shameless follows a single father of six, who spends rather too much of his free time drinking at bars and battling alcoholism. The older daughter, who takes on the role of the mom, manages to raise the rest of the kids despite her father’s well, lack of parenting. The comedy-drama is an interesting look into what it’s like to grow up with an addicted parent.
9. Feel Good [Netflix]
Feel good is a semi-autobiographical comedy series by comedian Mae Martin. The show tells the story of navigating the modern fluid landscape of sexuality and gender. It follows a recovering addict who tries to control her addictive behaviors that affect every aspect of her life. As she starts an all-consuming relationship, things get even more complicated and sort of comical from time to time.
10. BoJack Horseman [Netflix]
A cartoon TV show about addiction and these struggles is entirely unexpected. But, BoJack Horseman, a humanoid horse lost in a sea of booze, decides to make a comeback. In this comedy show, we follow BoJack as he tries to regain his dignity, get used to modern technologies, and navigate drugs and alcohol. While this is an animated show, the heavy references to sex, drugs, alcohol, and sexuality make it not appropriate for the little ones in the family.
11. Catastrophe [Amazon Prime]
This romantic comedy follows an Irish woman and an American man in London, trying to make their relationship work despite the many tricky situations around them. The show touches on the man’s secret relapse to drinking, a subsequent car crash that happened, and the difficulties of maintaining an active sex life in a long-term relationship. Comedy is used in this show to discuss difficult-to-talk-about subjects that are greatly important.
12. Nurse Jackie [Showtime]
One of the rawest tv shows about addiction in healthcare workers. Nurse Jackie follows an emergency room nurse who goes above and beyond to care for her patients. But she has a secret – she relies (heavily) on Vicodin and Adderall to get through her job as an emergency nurse in New York. An unfortunate reality for many healthcare workers in high-stress jobs that turn to substance use to manage the pressure, and more often than less, end up with a substance use disorder.
13. Intervention [A&E]
Since 2005, Intervention has been a reality-tv-esque show that follows either dependent or addicted to drugs. The show follows them as their families plan an intervention to get them to agree to seek treatment hopefully. This series shows how addicts are depicted and the impact their addiction has around those close to them, eventually resulting in the inevitable intervention.
14. Love [Netflix]
This comedy follows two individuals navigating modern relationships. While addiction isn’t the main focus of this show, it’s prevalent. The show’s lead is navigating recovery from alcohol and prescription medication abuse. Still, she can’t stop smoking before AA meetings, struggles with the urge to drink or use drugs, and keeps lying to her sponsor despite regretting it. What’s so refreshing about this show is that they never show her hitting rock bottom, as other shows sensationalize addiction. Instead, it shows a more authentic side of addiction and how it continues to prevent her from connecting with others and living a fulfilling life.
15. How to Sell Drugs Online (Fast) [Netflix]
The show follows a nerdy teenager who starts to sell drugs online to impress his former girlfriend. The drama series is actually based on real-life events of a teenage kid in Germany selling MDMA online. The show tells the story of how drugs affect everyone involved in the process of making and selling drugs, as well as those taking them.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction, this illness is treatable. Contact us today and call (866) 308-2090 today to speak with an addiction specialist who can guide you on the right path to recovery.