Television Shows About Addiction

Legacy Healing Center Blog

For years, the media has been saturated with images of beautifully tragic partygoers drinking their troubles away. Whether it is a dependency on alcohol, prescription medications, or illicit drugs, many characters we have come to know and love have served as a vessel for cautionary tales and hard lessons. Recent years have seen a rise in the representation of the consequences of substance abuse. Legacy Healing Center Fort Lauderdale has compiled a list of our favorite examples of shows about addiction.


This comedy-drama paints a humorous yet tragic picture of what it is like to be the child of an addict. Frank is a single father with enough skeletons in his closet to decorate a house for Halloween. He spends his days drinking himself into a stupor while his eldest, Fiona, takes care of her five siblings. Other themes explored in the series include mental illness, poverty, racism, and homophobia. It premiered on the network Showtime in 2011 and is currently streaming on Netflix.


The franchises first installment entitled “The Kids of Degrassi Street”  premiered in 1979 and concluded in 1986. The beloved spinoff, “Degreassi High” went on to chronicle the lives and misadventures of students at a high school of the same name. It lasted from 1987 to 1991. Exploring themes of sexuality and coming-of-age, it is one of the most popular shows about drugs and alcohol in teenage settings. Its final installment, “Degrassi: The Next Generation” ended in 2015, and the show can currently be seen on Tubi, a free streaming app.

Orange Is the New Black

When a show is set in a prison, it makes sense that drug abuse and trafficking would be common themes. This Netflix drama rose to fame in 2013. It chronicled the lives and happenings of female inmates, how they each ended up in their situations, and the interactions between each other. The main character Piper, played by Taylor Schilling, was arrested in connection with her former lover’s drug trafficking endeavors. 


This gripping HBO drama series, which began in 2019, is about addiction in a teenage girl and has earned Zendaya two primetime Emmys. Rue Bennett grapples with the death of her father, masking her grief and severe anxiety with enough drugs to sedate a fully grown man. The two seasons have illustrated her struggles and how her addiction affects those closest to her. It is a gripping piece of art whose third season is currently in the works.

BoJack Horseman

This animated dramedy follows the lives of their titular character, an anthropomorphic horse – an actor past his prime who is drinking his sorrows away. The show started in 2014, and many BoJack Horseman characters have their own unique struggles, though one stands out: Sarah Lynn. Similar to BoJack, she grapples with fame and addiction, leading to a turning point in the series. The series can be viewed on Netflix.

Nurse Jackie

No list of TV shows about addiction would be complete without mentioning this Showtime drama that ran from 2009 to 2015. Jackie is an emergency room nurse that relies on sneaking doses of Adderall and Vicodin to help get her through the day. It highlights the very real problem of addiction among healthcare professionals, and old episodes are popular to this day. 

Get the Care You Need at our Fort Lauderdale Rehab

For people in the midst of active addiction, there are resources available to help them successfully overcome it and achieve sobriety. Our detox center in Fort Lauderdale is equipped to clinically care for individuals suffering from a number of different substances. Patients may also access our extensive list of effective therapies, ensuring each participant has the chance to confront their situations in a safe and stable environment.

If you or a loved one is struggling, call Legacy at 754-203-4541 to learn more information about the care options available at our Fort Lauderdale addiction treatment center.

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