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The DEA Taught Breaking Bad Stars How To Make Meth In Order To Improve The Show's Accuracy

When AMC's "Breaking Bad" premiered in 2008, creator Vince Gilligan created a TV show that showed the effects drugs have on lives beyond simply substance abuse. From the rise of Walt (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse's (Aaron Paul) bare-bones methamphetamine cooking in the "crystal ship" RV, all the way until Walt's rise as a meth kingpin – the drama tracked how the illegal drug trade can destroy lives just as quickly as people can consume the stimulant. This was achieved with Walt's potent chemical mixture of pure methamphetamine known as "Blue Sky." Since the substance was so irresistible to its addicts, it's not uncommon to wonder if the potent drug was based on reality.

There have been numerous scholarly insights into how both the illegal drug industry and the chemistry of the show's meth stack up. Speaking about the program's attention to accuracy, Illinois State University Criminal Justice Professor Ralph A. Weisheit observed, "It is a mix of truth and fiction but has a heavier dose of truth than one usually finds in television dramas." This is to be expected as it has been revealed that the real-life DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) actually taught the show's stars how to make methamphetamine to improve the drama's accuracy.

DEA chemists joined the consultancy team of Breaking Bad to ensure methamphetamine accuracy

In a 2012 interview with High Times, Bryan Cranston, who plays series protagonist Walter White on 'Breaking Bad," was asked if it were true that the DEA were technical consultants on the drama series. The actor replied, "Yes. The situation is this: We informed them — with all due respect and consideration — that we're doing this show, and 'Would you like to be a part of it in a consultancy in order to make sure that we get it right?' They had the choice to say, 'We don't want anything to do with it.'"

Cranston continued by adding that the administration felt that it would be "in their best interest" to become consultants on the show to prevent rampant inaccuracies about the drug from becoming part of the popular imagination. He then spoke about how chemists working with the DEA joined the TV show to help him and his co-star, Aaron Paul, correctly make the illicit Schedule I drug.

Although both Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul were shown how to make the substance through demonstrations, he told Howard Stern on his popular radio show that the duo did not actually make the drug based on the DEA's chemical formulation (via Today). Instead, they were simply told the exact method and process for synthesizing high-level methamphetamine.