Study Guide

Orange Is the New Black Drugs and Alcohol

By Piper Kerman

Drugs and Alcohol

Many movies, from Pulp Fiction to Spring Breakers to Trainspottingglamorize drug and alcohol use among people of all ages, all over the world. And at the beginning of Orange is the New Black, it's all fun and games for Piper and Nora, too. They cavort around Europe, living in Zurich, jumping off waterfalls. Ah, the glorious life of a drug dealer.

But things almost always go wrong. Usually there's a gunfight or something. Things go wrong for Piper, too, but not in a violent-yet-fun Hollywood sort of way. When she gets convicted and goes to jail, she gets one of the worst punishments: boredom.

Questions About Drugs and Alcohol

  1. Is Piper's jail sentence fair for her crime? It's not like she was an actual drug dealer, right?
  2. Are prisons doing anything to reform drug addicts? Or dealers?
  3. What do you think would be an appropriate alternative to jail for some of these offenders? Is there one?

Chew on This

At first, Piper tries to excuse herself for not being an actual drug dealer, but she is still a cog in the machine of the drug trade that puts so many other people in prison.

Piper Kerman tries to show us that the War on Drugs isn't working—think: overcrowded prisons, no rehab—but she offers no alternatives.

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