Is 'Glee' a Little Too Gleeful About Drugs?

The dryly witty new FOX TV show Glee has received critical acclaim for its ability to juggle American Idol-esque performances with an engaging plot -- all while dealing with issues such as teen pregnancy and adolescent homosexuality.

But this week's episode added another layer to the already controversial mix: drug use. More specifically, drug use painted in a not-entirely-negative light.

To foster motivation to practice, the glee club coach pitted the boys against the girls in a peformance competition. The school nurse gave the lead male an off-label dose of pseudoephedrine-enhanced cold medicine to help give him a boost (the stress of attending to his pregnant girlfriend was sapping his energy). She referred to it as a "vitamin," but the viewers at home were aware that the pills are actually one of the primary ingredients in crystal methamphetamine.

The pills gave our hero a burst of frantic energy -- and, therefore a competitive edge -- so he shared them with his fellow singers. In order to keep up, the girls decided to get their own doses from the nurse. Both sides ended up getting rave reviews from the teacher and judge, which, in essence, condoned their prescription drug use.

Eventually the show got around to reprimanding the kids for taking the drugs (as did the nurse who dispensed them), but it was too little too late.


It's not a stretch to say the show painted pseudoephedrine in a positive light, and one wonders how parents will react to Glee's approach to teenage drug use.

Many states have passed laws forbidding the sale of certain cold medicines in large quantities, and some require a signature and formal identification to buy just one box. But those laws are only meant to prevent meth labs from getting the ingredients they need to produce the drug. What about kids who see this episode of Glee and are tempted to reach for the cold medicine -- which may already be sitting in their family's medicine cabinet -- to give themselves an advantage?

Some reviews have said the show's anti-drug message was stronger than any pro-drug signals it may have sent. Other blogs addressing this week's Glee aren't so sure.

Do you think the episode glorified the use of drugs? Chime in below!


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