“Chasing the Dragon,” new FBI/DEA film to fight opioid abuse

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration are teaming up to fight prescription drug and heroin abuse in Alabama. Their goal is to educate young people before they first try the drugs. A powerful new tool in that effort unveiled today in Birmingham, and WHNT News 19 was there.

Birmingham's historic Boutwell Auditorium, the first stop in a new effort to save lives.

"I started taking 3 at a time, then I was taking 4 at a time, and then I started taking...."

"I became addicted that day."

"When you're getting high, it's not just a drug."

"You're hooked."

"$500 going to dope."

"And she was a convicted felon at the age of 18."

"Chasing the Dragon" is a new documentary produced by the FBI and DEA. It features the real life stories of real life drug addicts, where they came from, and how easy it was to become an addict. It is a very powerful film.

"There's no question about it, it's a very powerful, and it's intended to be that way. Hopefully it gets people's attention, they realize that it really is, it really does affect people in very serious ways," said FBI Spokesperson Paul Daymond.

Jonathan Kirby, of Huntsville, is the President FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association. “I think if you're not touched by the film then you probably need to check your pulse."

Kirby says several people in the film went to prison because of their addiction to opiates.

“And then come out and days later, after getting all the education and the opportunity to recover from it, can't seem to break it," Kirby added.

The goal of the film is simply to educate people how easy it is to become addicted to opioid drugs, and what happens after you're hooked.

Dr. John Higginbotham, Madison County Medical Society Disaster Liaison, said, “I don't think we recognized early on that the opioids that we were prescribing to take care of people's pain were introducing another problem to us."

Dr. Higginbotham said awareness of what these prescription drugs can do may be the key is easing what many call the epidemic of opioid abuse.

The FBI next plans to screen the film here in Huntsville, probably this summer. But you can watch it now.

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