On April 11, 2017, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Oswego County Prevention Coalition hosted a community viewing of the documentary Chasing the Dragon: Life of an Opiate Addict followed by a community response panel. The event occurred at the Elks Lodge in Oswego, New York.
United States Attorney Richard Hartunian welcomed over 90 community members, saying, “The opioid drug epidemic has afflicted communities, families, and individuals throughout the 32 counties of the Northern District of New York and across the nation. My office will continue to work with local drug coalitions to bring Chasing the Dragon: the Life of an Opiate Addict and its powerful prevention message to a wide audience. Only by working together to prevent the tragedy of addiction and loss can we begin to overcome this grave threat to public health and safety.”
Chasing the Dragon is an FBI- and DEA-produced documentary that profiles the stories of individuals who abused opiates or had family members become addicts. The film aims to teach teenagers, college students, and parents about the cycle of addiction and the tragic consequences associated with opioid abuse.
Assistant United States Attorney Richard Southwick introduced the documentary, making note of the widespread impact of heroin and opiate overdoses. More people now die of opiate-related overdoses than do of gun-related homicides. He encouraged people to share the documentary’s stories with family, friends and neighbors in order to build awareness of the dangers of addiction.
A discussion following the screening of the documentary included representatives of the Oswego County District Attorney’s Office, and the Oswego Police and Fire Departments, as well as the mother of a child in treatment for heroin addiction and a young man in recovery who is also a peer support counselor.