February 4, 2016

FBI, DEA Release Documentary Film Addressing Heroin/Prescription Drug Abuse

In an effort to combat the growing epidemic of prescription drug and heroin abuse, the FBI and DEA today unveiled a documentary aimed at educating students and young adults about the dangers of  addiction. Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict is a 45-minute documentary film that profiles the stories of several people who either abused opiates or had family members become addicts. It profiles the cycle of addiction and looks at the tragic consequences associated with opioid abuse. The documentary also features interviews with medical and law enforcement professionals discussing the effects of the addiction, and how this epidemic is unlike any this country has seen before.

The documentary is targeted at educating high school and above students and young adults. Because opioid addiction can take hold after the first use, the film is meant to send a message of deterrence to those either thinking of trying drugs or just beginning to use drugs. The FBI and DEA are offering the film to educators at no cost for incorporation into their curriculum. Those wishing to obtain a copy of the film may do so by contacting their local FBI or DEA field office or by downloading the film for free at www.fbi.gov/ChasingTheDragon.

“This epidemic does not discriminate; All across this country, it is taking good people from good homes and leading them down a trail that often ends in pain and sadness,” said FBI Director James Comey. “This film may be difficult to watch, but we hope it educates our students and young adults about the tragic consequences that come with abusing these drugs and that it will cause people to think twice before becoming its next victim.”

The opioid and prescription drug abuse epidemic has swept through the country. Statistics show that overdose deaths from heroin abuse have more than doubled since 2010. More people die each year from drug overdoses than die in car accidents. Because an opioid addiction can take hold after the first use, it is hoped that this film will help generate discussions that will lead a greater understanding of the dangers of the addiction, its impact on both the victim and their loved ones, and the often deadly consequences of opioid abuse.

“The numbers are appalling and shocking—tens of thousands of Americans will die this year from drug-related deaths and more than half of these deaths are from heroin and prescription opioid overdoses,” said Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg. “You will see in Chasing the Dragon opioid abusers that have traveled a remarkably dangerous and self-destructive path. I hope this will be a wakeup call for folks. Please pay close attention to this horrific epidemic. Help reverse it. Save a life. Save a friend. Save a loved one.”

The documentary premiered today at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. in front of educational leaders from the Washington D.C. metro area. A roundtable discussion featuring educators, medical professionals, and law enforcement immediately followed the premier.