Chasing the Dragon: Documentary aims to fight opiate crisis in WNY

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The FBI and DEA are teaming up with local groups to help fight the heroin and prescription drug abuse crisis in our area.

Friday morning on the Kids Escaping Drugs campus, the groups launched a local push to spread awareness to prevent addiction through a new documentary from the FBI and DEA called “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict”.

MORE | Watch the “Chasing the Dragon” documentary on the FBI website.

WARNING: The documentary contains strong language and disturbing images that depict that reality of addiction. Viewer caution is advised.

The film, which premiered in Washington, D.C. last month, is about 45 minutes long, and offers powerful, disturbing first-hand perspectives about what happens when a person becomes addicted to opiates.

The hope is that message will reach community members, especially high schoolers, on a peer to peer level, and prevent people from using in the first place.

Lauren, a recovering addict and graduate of the Kids Escaping Drugs program who chose not to provide her last name, watched parts of the documentary at the local media premier Friday morning, and she said she hopes the film’s message does resonate with people as they see how much these drugs can destroy your life.

Lauren said that’s something she knows too well. “I started doing things that I never thought I was going to do and crossing lines that I said I was never going to cross, and I was getting myself into a lot of scary situations.” she said.

“The goal for everybody is never to go down that road,” said FBI Buffalo Special Agent in Charge Adam Cohen. “Don’t allow it to happen to your friends, your family, anybody that you care about.”

The severity of the opiate crisis has leaders across the country looking to fight the problem any way they can.

The Mayor of Ithaca is even suggesting the city have a site to let heroin addicts use the drug under nurse supervision, which would likely reduce the number of overdose deaths.

But, the experts in our community say, they are against the Ithaca mayor’s idea. “That’s not going to do anything to curb the disease of addiction,” said Robin Clouden, Executive Director for Kids Escaping Drugs. “That’s our number one concern. We need to get these people into recovery.”

The local leaders promoting the FBI and DEA’s documentary say the Ithaca mayor’s plan enables addicts when the big push should be for addiction prevention and treatment.

“This is an epidemic that is reaching everyone,” said Pat Greco, President of the Board of Directors for Kids Escaping Drugs and President of the FBI’s Citizens Academy Alumni Association. “We need awareness and we need education and that’s why we’re here today.”

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