Justin Lubin/AMC

'Fear The Walking Dead': Kim Dickens Explains How Drug Addiction Plays A Major Role

Fighting zombies gets even tougher once heroin is involved.

As we've all seen throughout five brutal seasons of "The Walking Dead," fighting zombies is a grueling, deadly experience for even the most seasoned warriors. Take Tyreese, for example -- that dude was a beast with his hammer, but one lingering stare in the wrong direction was all it took for walker-mayhem to kick in.

So imagine our terror when we learned that on "Fear the Walking Dead" -- the eagerly anticipated companion series that debuts this Sunday -- the lead characters are living in the early days of the zombie apocalypse, so none of them even know how to land a brain-shot yet. And as series star Kim Dickens, who plays Madison Clark, told MTV News when she stopped by our studio ahead of the premiere, it gets even worse -- because her son on the show, Nick (Frank Dillane), is a heroin addict.

"You don't want to be starting from behind in the zombie apocalypse," she said.

But that's exactly how the Clark-Manawa family unit starts in the series premiere, as Madison and her boyfriend, Travis, have to deal with Nick's recent hospitalization.

"We start from the ground up, from so-called normal existence -- as normal as this family is; they're pretty dysfunctional -- so it was really helpful to start the story that way," Dickens continued. "I think that drug addiction element in this family... it's a real look at a dysfunction in a family. It's pretty harsh. And they do start from behind, in a way. I mean, they're dealing with [addiction] on a daily basis, the pain of that, and the difficulties and the drama of that. Then things go from zero to 100, so."

MTV News has screened the premiere of "Fear the Walking Dead," and can confirm that the "zero to 100" bit is 100 percent accurate. However, just because there are zombies in town, doesn't mean you should discount poor Nick's chances for survival.

"[Frank said] 'A drug addict is in a life or death moment every moment,'" Dickens said. "So [Frank] kind of thought he would be a little bit more savvy in the moment."