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Trainspotting Does Not Endorse Drug Use (Spoilers Ahead)

Ewen Bremner actor in the films Trainspotting and T2 Trainspotting

Ewen Bremner, one of the stars of Trainspotting and T2 Trainspotting

Do movies and television series glamorize drugs and drug use? That depends on who you ask. It also depends on the movies and television shows being discussed.

One of the more famous recent movies depicting drugs and drug use is Trainspotting, a film about a group of Scottish heroin users. The film premiered in 1996 and its sequel, T2 Trainspotting, came out in 2017.

The fact that a 1996 movie spawned a sequel two decades later illustrates people’s continuing interest in movies about drugs. But you’d be hard pressed to argue that the 1996 film glamorizes heroin or drug use.

One of the stars of the films agrees. Ewen Bremner, who plays the character Spud in the 1996 film and the 2017 sequel, declared that “a film like Trainspotting is a good education in that area — without having to do the drug yourself.”

And what an education it is. Without giving too much away about the plot, let’s just say heroin use doesn’t produce positive life changes for the characters in the 1996 film. People die. People live in squalor. People engage in dangerous and illegal activities.

Basically, Trainspotting shows the hold that heroin and other drugs can have over their users. They can create all sorts of negative consequences for their users, but the users don’t care about such problems (or feel powerless to solve them) because they’re so busy getting high or chasing the next high.

Yes, Trainspotting does depict drugs and drug use. But portraying something is not the same thing as endorsing it. It doesn’t celebrate drug abuse. If anything, it can make viewers thankful they’re not involved with drugs themselves. Or, if they ARE involved with drugs, perhaps it can spark some recognition, maybe even warn people of the negative consequences of their involvement.