Addiction in Fiction: Dealing With Peer Pressure in the CW’s TV Show iZombie (Part 1 of 2)

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A young man and woman

CW iZombie Photo

[Spoiler alert! In this post, we reveal some plot lines in the CW show iZombie.]

You may have noticed that fictional characters in TV shows, movies, and video games are often coping with issues of drug use and addiction. Have you ever wondered if the characters’ experiences are similar to what happens in real life? If they reflect experiences people actually go through?

Drugs are a major theme in the TV show iZombie. It's about a young woman, Liv Moore, who becomes a zombie and works with a detective to help solve murder cases. In the show, a tainted drug called Utopium is the source of a zombie epidemic.

In one episode, the character Major Lilywhite and his roommate Ravi go out to a club. Ravi decides to take the drug Utopium (as part of an experiment). He asks Major to keep him safe. Surrounded by music, seeing Ravi appear so happy on the drug, Major decides to take Utopium too.

The reality in this fiction comes from the subtle ways peer pressure can be applied and felt. It shows how difficult it can be to watch your friends having fun under the influence of a substance, leaving you feeling left out. It also shows that once you're in the environment where drug use is all around, there can be a strong desire to join in, even when it’s harmful.

At the club, Major seeks out more of the drug while he is still high on his first dose, but Ravi does not desire more of the drug. This connects to a real-life fact: we don’t know why people have different reactions to the same drugs. A combination of internal and external factors related to your genes, environment, and development can affect your response to a drug. This is also why we can’t predict if someone will become addicted on their first use or their 100th use or never. But the bottom line is that anyone can become addicted to drugs.

So what’s a real life person to do? First, knowing the facts about drugs and their risks helps you know why it’s a dangerous move. Second, understanding the risks of going to different environments (like parties or clubs) and creating a plan will help you stick to your decision to be drug-free. Finally, it never hurts to have a few tactful tips for resisting peer pressure to use drugs and alcohol to help you handle the situation. 

Remember, if you think you or someone you know has a problem with drugs, see NIDA’s treatment guides for how to get help.

Have you, like Major, ever had to deal with peer pressure over drug use? How did you handle it? Would you, like Major, put aside your promise to keep a friend safe just to get high? Tell us about it in the comments below.

In our next post, we’ll look at how iZombie presents the subjects of tainted drugs and Molly.

Update: Click here to see Part 2!

Photo credit: The CW.

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