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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 15, 2016

Utahns invited to attend screenings of Chasing the Dragon documentary, panel discussions as a part of National Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week

Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week - Prevention, Enforcement, Treatment

SALT LAKE CITY – Screenings of the FBI and DEA’s documentary about the dangers of opioid addiction, “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict,” will be held in West Jordan, Orem, and Ogden next week as a part of National Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week, U.S. Attorney John W. Huber announced today. The screenings are open to the public.

The title of the documentary refers to the never-ending pursuit of the original or ultimate high.  It features first-person accounts of people who have abused opioids or who have children who have abused opioids with tragic consequences.  The documentary also includes interviews with medical and law enforcement professionals discussing a variety of issues, including how quickly addiction can set in, how the increasing costs of prescriptions opioids can lead to the use of heroin as a less expensive alternative, the challenges of withdrawal, the ties between addiction and crime, and the fact that opiate abuse is prevalent in all segments of society.

The 45-minute screening of the documentary will be followed by a panel discussion in each community exploring issues related to prevention, enforcement, and treatment of prescription opiate and heroin abuse. 

"We cannot arrest and prosecute our way out of the problems contributing to overdose deaths in Utah. We have to get to the root of the problem, and that is not something that those of us in law enforcement can do alone,” U.S. Attorney John W. Huber said today. “We need a community response, one that brings law enforcement professionals, health care providers, educators, policy makers, faith leaders, and families together to approach the opioid challenge.  The first step toward that response is community education and awareness about these issues.”

The first screening will be Monday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m. at the Viridian Event Center in West Jordan.  The center is located at 8030 South 1825 West in West Jordan.  The screening will be in Room B.  Panelists involved in the discussion following the documentary will be Assistant U.S. Attorney Stewart Young, FBI Special Agent Cameron Smilie, Johnny Ngo of the Unified Police Department; and Trish Henrie-Barrus, Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Utah.

The second screening will be Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Ragan Theatre on the campus of Utah Valley University in Orem.  Participating in the panel discussion following the UVU screening will be Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Clark, Greg Peterson of the U.S. Probation Office, Taylor West of the Salt Lake City Police Department, and Carol Lundwall of the Intermountain Specialized Abuse Treatment Center (ISAT) in Provo.

The final screening will be Thursday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. in the Thomas D. Dee Auditorium at McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden.  Participating in the panel discussion following the Ogden screening will be Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Gadd, Troy Burnett of the Ogden Police Department, Scott Byington of the Davis Metro Narcotics Strike Force, and Dr. Timothy Houden, Medical Director of Pain Medicine at Intermountain Health Care.   

"This film may be difficult to watch,” explains FBI Director James Comey, “but we hope it educates our students and young adults about the tragic consequences that come with abusing these drugs and that it will cause people to think twice before becoming its next victim.”

According to Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg, “The numbers are appalling – tens of thousands of Americans will die this year from drug-related deaths, and more than half of these deaths are from heroin and prescription drug overdoses.  I hope this documentary will be a wake-up call for folks.”

Topic(s): 
Community Outreach
Drug Trafficking
Prescription Drugs
Component(s): 
Updated September 16, 2016