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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Montana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 23, 2017

Agencies Host Community Showing of Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict

     GREAT FALLS, MT – In an effort to combat the growing epidemic of prescription drug and heroin abuse, the FBI and DEA have released Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict, a documentary aimed at educating students and young adults about the dangers of addiction. The film focuses on educating the public about the dangers of opioid addiction and features stark, first-person accounts by individuals who have abused opioids, or whose children have abused opioids with tragic consequences. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 44 people die every day in America from an overdose of prescription painkillers. Since 2014, more than 14,000 people have died from prescription opioid overdoses alone.

     The public is invited to a free viewing of the film on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 from 6:00 to 7:00pm at the Mansfield Theatre in the Civic Center (2 Park Drive, Great Falls). In addition, the public is welcome to attend, at the same location, a reception prior to the screening from 5-6pm and a post-screening discussion of issues related to opioid addiction with a panel of law enforcement and community professionals including Barbara Roach - Special Agent in Charge USDEA, Honorable Michael Cotter - US Attorney for the District of Montana, Honorable Judge Pinksi - Cascade County District Court Judge, Brian Lockerby - Administrator for MTDCI, Dr. Brad Nieset - Medical Director Benefis Outpatient Specialty Clinics, Nikki Phillips - BSN, Benefis Pain Management Clinic, and A Representative From The Addiction & Recovery Field.

     United States Attorney Mike Cotter stated, “The rise of heroin use and the abuse of prescription opioids has devastated communities all over the United States. The best way to avoid that in Montana is to get our local communities to confront these issues early and often, and I can tell you, our local communities have responded, and are responding. I am proud to be a part of this effort and I look forward to seeing many of my former friends, neighbors and colleagues at this event.”

     DEA Special Agent in Charge Barbra Roach stated, “The prescription opioid epidemic, and the subsequent rise in the use of heroin and other controlled substances, is one of the most important problems in our nation today. It’s become pervasive in our society, extending from metropolitan to rural areas, and it either touches us directly or those that we know. That is why events such as these are so important. We need to take the time to educate our communities, and our neighbors, on the risks inherent in the abuse of prescription pain killers. Forums like the one in Great Falls are the first, best step in addressing and correcting the problem.”

    The event is a joint effort by GFPD, USDEA, Substance Abuse Prevention Alliance, Benefis Health Systems, MTDCI, Montana U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Big Sky Managed Care to educate community members of the growing opioid epidemic.

Topic(s): 
Community Outreach
Press Release Number: 
KERI LEGGETT, Acting Public Information Officer, (406) 761-7715
Updated February 23, 2017