FBI Produces New Film: 'Chasing The Dragon, The Life of an Opiate Addict'

By Zachary Siegel 02/10/16

The FBI-produced film aims to be a wakeup call that exposes the perils of opiate addiction. 

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FBI Produces New Film: “Chasing The Dragon, The Life of an Opiate Addict”
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Heroin has been a dark presence across suburban America for quite some time. Only now are we seeing the fallout, measured in the staggering amount of opiate and heroin related deaths. 

To address this public health crisis, FBI director James Comey wanted to disseminate an educational film. The result is Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict, a piercing take on lives that have been impacted by opiates. The film is aimed at youth, to prevent them from firstly abusing painkillers, which is often a bridge into heroin use.   

“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,” Comey told the Washington Post.

Comey took a personal interest in the film’s production, and is scheduled to meet with educators and administrators from school districts in Washington on Thursday to talk about the deadly trend: the abuse of prescription opiates among youths. 

According to the Washington Post, FBI officials are concerned that addiction begins with pills stolen from medicine cabinets, which can potentially lead teens to heroin. “This epidemic does not discriminate,” Comey told the Washington Post. “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.”

Chasing the Dragon begins with research by the FBI and DEA, that shows nearly 46,000 people die from drug use annually in the U.S. About half of those deaths are related to opiate drug abuse, according to data in the film.

“The numbers are appalling and shocking,” said DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg, “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. ” 

Rosenberg continued, “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.”

Watch the film below:

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Zachary Siegel is a freelance journalist specializing in science, health and drug policy. His reporting has also appeared in Slate, The Daily Beast, Salon, Huffington Post, among others. He writes often about addiction, sometimes drawing from his own experience. You can find out more about Zachary on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.