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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Florida

Friday, September 23, 2016

Local Events Educate Students on Dangers of Opiate Abuse

National Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week Is September 18-24

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – As designated by Presidential proclamation, September 18 through 24 is National Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week.  In observance, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is participating in several events throughout October to educate students on the rising public health crisis of opiate abuse.

Recently, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) co-produced a 45-minute documentary titled Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict.  The film features several stark, first-hand accounts of the dangers of opiate addiction.

Beginning this week and continuing through October, the United States Attorney’s Office, the FBI, DEA, the United States Probation Office, and other agencies will host several screenings of Chasing the Dragon at local colleges to educate students on the dangers of opiate abuse and to discuss how the issue could impact their lives and future careers.  Events took place this week at Florida State University, the University of West Florida, and Pensacola State College, with additional events to be announced as scheduled.

“The Northern District of Florida is joining United States Attorney’s Offices throughout the nation, as well as law enforcement, health professionals, and concerned citizens in our communities to bring awareness to this important issue,” said United States Attorney Christopher P. Canova.  “The heroin and opioid epidemic requires a coordinated response to address prevention, drug enforcement, and treatment.”

In 2014, more than 27,000 lives were lost to heroin and opioids, and reports from the field indicate that this number has increased in 2015 and this year.  During this week and beyond, Americans can learn more about the disease of addiction, join with community members to support evidence-based prevention and treatment programs, and stand with those who are suffering or recovering from a substance use disorder to let them know they are not alone.

As part of this initiative, more than 70 U.S. Attorneys around the country have already committed to doing more than 160 different events, and more than 90 events are planned at Bureau of Prison facilities.

For more information and resources about heroin and opioid awareness, visit  More information about Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict can be found at the following link, including a free download of the film and teacher discussion guide:

The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General.  To access available public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website.  For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit

For more information, contact:
Amy Alexander, Public Information Officer
(850) 216-3854,

Community Outreach
Prescription Drugs
Updated September 23, 2016