Breaking Bad

Greek translation at the end.

Breaking Bad has sparked a surge in crystal meth use across Europe, expert warns

  • Parts of the EU are being flooded with methamphetamine, officials warn
  • Germany has seen a 51% rise in usage of the class A drug 
  • In Britain border patrols have seen a 400% surge in smuggling the drug 
  • Professor Ellis Cashmore said TV show Breaking Bad could be to blame
  • Even if the drug’s negative side is portrayed, people will be curious, he said


Referred to as ‘ice’ or ‘glass’, methylamphetamine can be consumed orally, sniffed, smoked or injected and is becoming increasingly popular as a stimulant in the gay club scene.

In its most popular crystalline form it resembles glass shavings or a crystal rock but is also available in pills and powder.

The drug causes a range of dangerous side-effects alongside its high, such as increased heart rate, paranoia and heart problems.

The first crystal meth factory in the UK was found in 2005 and fears of its gradual introduction in the UK prompted its upgrade from a class-B to a class-A drug in January 2007.

The drug was first synthesised in 1919 but has grown in popularity due to the ease with which it is produced using a number of household products and items.

Across Europe, seizures of methamphetamine have increased from 30kg in 2000 to 1,582kg in 2011.

A shocking rise in crystal meth use across the UK and Europe is down to the influence of hit TV show Breaking Bad, a leading academic has warned.

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has revealed how parts of the EU are now being flooded with methamphetamine.

Germany in particular has seen the highest surge in usage of the class A drug, reporting a worrying 51 per cent rise.

In Britain alone border patrols have seen a surge in attempts to smuggle crystal meth into the country, with incidents rising by 400 per cent in the past year.

A shocking rise in crystal meth use across the UK and Europe is down to the influence of hit TV show Breaking Bad, an expert has warned

A shocking rise in crystal meth use across the UK and Europe is down to the influence of hit TV show Breaking Bad, an expert has warned.br2

In the show Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston (left) plays a chemistry teacher who teams up with his former student Jesse Pinkman, played by Aaron Paul (right) to sell methamphetamine

Figures released by the Government in January also revealed seizures of the deadly drug by police forces have also quadrupled in the last five years.

Professor Ellis Cashmore, an author on celebrity and media culture, from Staffordshire University, said the global success of the critically acclaimed US drama could be to blame.

He claimed having the central plot of a popular TV show revolving around the drug would instantly boost its appeal.

Mr Cashmore said: ‘Although the show does not go out to glamourise the drug, its very inclusion promotes interest in that 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.

 ‘One of the central protagonists Jessie, played by Aaron Paul, is portrayed as a drug addict and he is now a Hollywood A-Lister. He is a bit of a sex symbol.

‘The fact this character who we grow to love is taking crystal meth instantly makes people curious.

‘We live in a hedonistic generation where people are seeking pleasure from various sources, and increasingly these are be found in the most illicit forms.’

Even if the harmful effects of the drug are portrayed, people may still be drawn in, he added.

He said: ‘Even if a TV show, like Breaking Bad, portrays drugs in a negative aspect and showing its most destructive side, it will still appeal to somebody.

‘Showing the horrendous impact of crystal meth can have a boomerang effect and cause curiosity among some viewers who might think ‘that must be good’.

‘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 glamorises its subject matter, whether deliberate or not.’

Prague, is now the epicentre of the crystal meth industry, said to be the source of a staggering 95 per cent of all batches consumed in Europe.

In the show – which has won numerous Emmy and Golden Globe awards – one episode focuses on a scheme to export methamphetamine from New Mexico to the Czech Republic.

In Britain, border patrols have seen a surge in attempts to smuggle crystal meth into the country, with incidents rising by 400 per cent in the past year

In Britain, border patrols have seen a surge in attempts to smuggle crystal meth into the country, with incidents rising by 400 per cent in the past year

Professor Ellis Cashmore, of Staffordshire University, blames the surge on the TV show Breaking Bad. Having the central plot of a  show revolving around the drug instantly boosts its appeal, he said

In reality, police say it is also down to a much more sophisticated production and distribution network run by Vietnamese gangs based in the Czech Republic.

Colonel Jackub Frydrych, from Czech Republic Police, who heads the team trying to disrupt the trade, said: ‘There are booming markets.

‘I will give you an example: in Japan there is a big mark up of about £435 on each gram of crystal meth.

‘From a profit perspective it is one of the most dynamic markets.’

Home Office figures revealed the problem is also much closer to home with around 17,000 people believed to have used crystal meth in 2013.

Border police intercepted the drug on 252 occasions last year, rising from the 61 seizures recorded in 2011/12.

A number of ‘meth labs’ have been discovered in the UK but the majority of the country’s supply is thought to be smuggled in.

Officers in England and Wales recorded 110 seizures of the drug in its non-injectable form in the last year, compared to 55 occasions in 2010/11.

It was seized on only 24 incidents in 2008/09.

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Ένας επιφανής Βρετανός επιστήμονας κρούει τον κώδωνα του κινδύνου για την καταστροφική επίδραση που πιθανώς να έχει η δημοφιλής σειρά Breaking Bad στη διάδοση του συνθετικού ναρκωτικού crystal meth (κρυσταλική μεθαμφεταμίνη).

Οι φανατικοί οπαδοί του υπέρτατου αντι-ήρωα  Walter White, του καθηγητή που ξεκίνησε να “μαγειρεύει” crystal meth όταν διαγνώστηκε από καρκίνο, και του σέξι συνεργάτη του Jesse Pinkman, σπεύδουν να τους υπερασπιστούν, τονίζοντας το γεγονός ότι η σειρά δεν ωραιοποιεί τον κόσμο των ναρκωτικών.

Τα στατιστικά στοιχεία ωστόσο είναι αμείλικτα και εγείρουν ερωτήματα.

Η αύξηση της διακίνησης και της χρήσης κρυσταλικής μεθαμφεταμίνης στο Ηνωμένο Βασίλειο και την υπόλοιπη Ευρώπη είναι σοκαριστικά.

Όπως χαρακτηριστικά σημειώνει το Ευρωπαϊκό Παρατηρητήριο για τα Ναρκωτικά και τον Εθισμό (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction – EMCDDA), το συνθετικό ναρκωτικό έχει κατακλύσει ολόκληρες περιοχές της Ευρώπης.

Η μεγαλύτερη αύξηση καταγράφεται στη Γερμανία και είναι της τάξεως του 51%.

Οι απόπειρες λαθραίας εισόδου μεθαμφεταμίνης στη Βρετανία παρουσίασαν τεράστια αύξηση 400% την περασμένη χρονιά, σύμφωνα με τη συνοριοφυλακή της χώρας.

Τον Ιανουάριο η βρετανική αστυνομία δημοσιοποίησε στοιχεία, εκ των οποίων προκύπτει τετραπλασιασμός των κατασχέσεων του συγκεκριμένου ναρκωτικού από την αστυνομία.

Ο καθηγητής Ellis Cashmore του πανεπιστημίου Staffordshire, ο οποίος μελετά την κουλτούρα των Media και των Celebrities, ισχυρίζεται ότι η τεράστια επιτυχία που σημειώνει διεθνώς η αμερικανική σειρά Breaking Bad μπορεί να ευθύνεται για την τεράστια αυτή αύξηση του ναρκωτικού, εφόσον η πλοκή του εξελίσσεται γύρω από την παραγωγή και διακίνηση του.br1

Σε κάθε περίπτωση, η σειρά αυξάνει το ενδιαφέρον για την crystal meth, ενώ πιθανώς την καθιστά και ελκυστική, σύμφωνα με το ν καθηγητή.

“Ο Aaron Paul που υποδύεται τον ναρκομανή Jesse είναι σήμερα ανάμεσα στους πρωτοκλασάτους σταρ του Hollywood και για πολλούς sex symbol”, λέει χαρακτηριστικά.

“Το γεγονός ότι ο τηλεοπτικός ήρωας που αγαπάμε κάνει χρήση crystal meth αυξάνει το ενδιαφέρον του κόσμου για το συγκεκριμένο ναρκωτικό” προσθέτει και επισημαίνει πως “ακόμα και το γεγονός ότι η σειρά δείχνει τις τρομακτικές συνέπειες της χρήσης του μπορεί να λειτουργήσει ως μπούμερανγκ και αντί να αποτρέψει κάποιον να τον κάνει να σκεφτεί: αυτό πρέπει να είναι καλό”.

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