Chasing the Dragon

2016 ,    »  -   32 Comments
397
5.66
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Ratings: 5.66/10 from 121 users.
Storyline

Produced by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Chasing the Dragon is a wrenching portrait of the escalating opioid epidemic told through the frank testimonies of young addicts and their family members.

Over 46000 people die of a drug overdose every year, and many of these fatalities result from opioid abuse. The crisis is particularly prominent in younger communities where a lack of drug education and a desire for experimentation increasingly harbors disastrous and lethal consequences.

The recovering addicts profiled in the film come from good homes and loving families. For many of these heartbreaking subjects, the descent into drug addiction began with the use of marijuana. Their graduation to opioids may have seemed innocuous at the outset; after all, these little pills are often prescribed by doctors and are stored in family medicine cabinets. But that first instance of misuse quickly evolved into a full-fledged addiction from which they were powerless to escape. In an attempt to replicate their initial high, they began to inject more potent opioids intravenously. Addiction quickly became a never-ending cycle that dominated every moment of their lives.

The film's subjects share a myriad of horrific experiences. One young woman recalls a crack house she shared with other drug users. When they stepped into the bathroom and discovered a dead body in a tub, they quickly sought another room where they could get their fix. Another addict speaks of her challenges in maintaining a 40-pill-a-day habit. A new mother admits to getting hooked when her daughter was just seven months old.

Once they're in the throes of their disease, family relationships and future goals take a back seat. Many of them resort to theft, assault, and prostitution in order to maintain their destructive lifestyle.

The addicts profiled in the film are now in recovery. Some of them are struggling to reclaim stable lives with their families. Others speak from behind bars. Freed from the clouds of self-deception brought on by their addictions, their reflections are painfully candid and instructive.

Chasing the Dragon is a wrenching, but crucial viewing experience, particularly for young people who must contend with mounting peer pressures on a daily basis.

Directed by: James Barrett, Thomas Benca

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32 Comments / User Reviews

  1. bionara

    So American in production that is becomes surreal, meaningless and almost absurd.

  2. S.Stern

    This video is disgusting in that it does nothing to speak of why the opiod epidemic has taken off and why pharma companies are allowed to push addictive drugs on to the unsuspecting populace. But oh yeah, it's marijuana's fault...
    It's completely not self aware, they're trying to scare you from using opioids, but don't bother with treatment programs, just throw addicts in jail. Because that works so well...

    How much money did the FBI waste on this video?

  3. Katrina King

    As one of the subjects in the film, I would hope that you would consider that our heartache, regret and raw confessions are not a waste. Opinions like this totally miss the point of why this was done in the first place. These things DO and ARE killing people and destroying lives.

  4. joe nobull

    there is no doubt there is an addiction problem with these man made derivatives of the opium plant.
    money is the root of this problem...the pharma companies make billions from a natural substance they tweak and suddenly becomes legal.
    there is old hippies out there that smoke black tar opium occasionally which is the most natural form of opium use for millenia and they didnt become junkies.
    this is not the fault of the user...its the fault of the creator of these intense products.
    ...the people need to ask WHY are these products allowed to be dispersed legally...and why is the natural unaltered product is illegal?
    these victims are the canaries in the coal mine

  5. Cyberdog

    "the descent into drug addiction began with the use of marijuana. " - That is an outright lie. It has always begun with nicotine.

  6. Ballsrog

    @ Cyberdog, that doesn't make any sense. Youre saying you can only get addicted to opiates if you've been addicted to something else? Might as well say it begins with coffee then, but neither your statement or what you're quoting is true. I can guarantee you people have become addicted to opiates without having smoked anything in their life. Know what it really begins with? An unnatural society, with little or no sense of accomplishment or purpose for most people, and a slave like existence to the monetary system, corporations and government.

  7. Mals

    I have been using opioids for chronic pain for years. Just because these junkies are out of control does not mean that I should be punished by banning the effective treatment of pain.

  8. Sonny 1

    I'm agreeing with "Mals." Have been on opiates since 1988; where I take an average of 70 per month after 3 back surgery's, and a broken back; which cause chronic pain daily. The amount of medication given to me by my M.D. is controlled very closely; monthly! Now to the point of this movie: it is about "addicts" who are hooked on opiates. Why? Surely there are as many answers as there are addicts. That is why not every form of existing treatment works for each person who's hooked. There seems that as big as this problem is they could have found much better programs for treatment(s). It's like the cancer epidemic; billions (actually trillions) of dollars have been spent before they said there were dozens of different cancers. My old brain reasons this way; 'the company's making all the different drugs are making "mega dollars" every year with 100,000s who still die from every kind of diseases. My hope rests on what the Bible says, as it was written 100s of years ago: "No resident (person on earth) will say I am sick." Isaiah 33:24 That scripture makes this whole cycle of disease very interesting when you truly do the research into it. Thanks for reading, and any feedback.

  9. Joseph

    I've watched some very convincing documentaries claiming that the production of Opium in Afghanistan around year 2000 was about 200-300 tons annually... Since year 2000, when the USA troops moved into the country, the production increased tenfold... that's to 2000-3000 tons annually... has anybody credible info or comment on this? thank you

  10. Roger Andout

    I'd go along with Katrina King. The point of the film is the consequences and peoples powerlessness over addictive drugs.

  11. Javene McGowan

    First I must say that this documentary taught me about Opiate. Then I must agree with the persons that notice this video is implying that marijuana lead to Opiate addiction. I must also agree with commenters that question why the Opium plant is illegal but the altered form is legal. And I never thought that the Opium plant would be less dangerous than the medical form.

    Finally I must add; the persons in this video that got addicted are spoiled f***ing brats. There parents gave them everything but they still couldn't satisfy! But it's the parents fault for giving they kid everything, and not punishing there children or giving them curfew.

  12. blaice

    It is really pathetic when these people plant a natural herbal supplement for their addiction to opioids (which have no relation let me mind you, as they are different species of plants.... Hops are MUCH MORE closely related to marijuana than opioids ever could be). I smoked weed for years.... Never once took drugs other than when I had wisdom teeth taken, and I didn't get "hooked" on them. I even had to take more than recommended to actually get the pain-dampening effect. Once they were gone I did not care. Have not smoked weed for months either.... I'm not running out to buy opioids illegally (or legally for that matter).

    These people are just weak. That is how the world works. If you want to condemn yourself, you will do it. It is the same thing with disgustingly gluttonous obese people killing themselves on fast food for every meal. Welcome to the real world, and grow up if you want to live a good life.

  13. Elle

    Docs like this make those of us who are really in constant chronic pain and who use opioids so we can try to live a normal life. Granted we become chemically addicted to this drug however I'll take that addiction to the pain I feel without Methadone.
    I never feel any sort of a high and in fact I occasionally forget to take the drug. Also I have 90 days worth of pills in my dresser drawer and no impulse to gobble them down.
    Yet because I'm a senior and I take methadone the assumption is that I'm either a heroin addict (by people who haven't a clue). Or an opiate Addict.
    Thus whole thing is crazy making. Because we can't get treatment for real addicts those of us who aren't addicts are condemned and ostracized by everyone from news media to local pharmacists who know nothing of our conditions.
    Truly a Catch-22

  14. mary ann coral

    First, I have nothing but sympathy for addicts who lose their lives and their relatives who have had their lives destroyed by opioid drug addiction. However, it seems bizarre to see Comey introducing a FBI anti-drug video whose primary advise seems to channel Nancy Reagan's "just say no' campaign ( we all see how that worked out).
    Now that a generation of the white middle class is strangely becoming addicted, after, say 1 or 2 pills or a little bit of pot, their descent into Borch's third panel in The Garden Of Earthly Delights -drug induced-is all but assured. Is this is the same generation that had Ritalin and Adderall foisted upon them for being fidgety in third grade?
    Every surgeon gives out opioids before surgery, whether it is for a face lift or hip replacement, so if the kind of addiction they talk about, anecdotally, is true, everyone over 50 would be an addict. So, thank you Comey for your words of wisdom, you will surely have secure employment once Trumpilstilskin takes over and overturns everything from abortion rights to Obamacare, primarily affecting the white middle and lower classes now grappling with this drug epidemic. You'll need that money for swat equipment.

  15. mary ann coral

    BTW, let us not forget that Comey allegedly had a single hand in getting Trump elected as president of the USA. A president who has said he supports the Filipino president Duterte in his campaign to slaughter suspected drug dealers and users in the street and who brags that he has killed three individuals personally, without judicial process. GO FBI!

  16. Sabina Neal

    About ten percent of the population has an addictive personality

  17. Mark Gaboury

    I guess it's pointless to ask who gets the addict's inheritance after he or she dies. These people have no virtue. I can't respect weak people who have weak wills. This addicted woman saying that her daughter (addicted by imitation) who died was her first love! No, woman, the drug was your first love, and probably still is. I respect that woman who put her daughter in jail. She's a keeper.

  18. Katrina King

    Mark, what can I say? It's people like you that make me determined.

    Did you know me? Did you know that I was a career mom who gave my children all I had, working 10 hour days to support them? Did you hear in my voice any kind of reach for sympathy or " understanding"? Let me tell you, I became addicted once my children were adults and it was an accident after long term, inappropriate treatment by doctors after an accident. My son is in the airforce and excels, yet I see mothers who have put their kids on jail and addictions only went as far as cigarettes and their kids are foil mouthed and spoiled. Two words that do not describe or ever described my children.

    To your misinformed assertion about me you clearly weren't paying attention. I am the founder of An Addict Speaks and we advocate accountability and not that I owe anyone an explanation but I've been clean over 5 years.

    Perhaps mind reading and judgment is really the American problem. I am accountable all day but refuse to be burdened with guilt or shame. Know as understand your facts. You have no idea of what you speak. But I couldn't expect you to and I understand though I must speak up.

  19. Katrina King

    Inheritance? I didn't get an inheritance when my parents died at age 23 and 26 and my son has determined to make his own way and is my primary focus as well as his new beautiful daughter. Be well.

  20. Di Webster

    Oh boy...obviously people don't get it.

    This stigma is the very reason why people continue to die from addiction because they are cast into the hell of judgement... "They are weak, they are scum, they are spoiled brats, their parents are at fault, it is lack of parenting..." Where is compassion? What makes one so worthy to cast judgement?

    Until drug addiction knocks on one's door, many won't care to understand because it can't happen to them...they are better than that...

    I never thought in a million years I would be in the middle of addiction...I saw someone go through hell....I tried to help a young woman who was in my life for 5 years, who I had no clue was taking pills... who knocked on my door needing help from opiate addiction...and to think some people were plain mean because, "I was helping an addict."

    They said to throw her on the streets...they told me I may lose my job...Some were "Christians" and some were just plain heartless...I really lost a lot of respect for many people who claimed to be Christians...

    I thought if I showed a picture of the young lady I was helping, perhaps they would see it was a life, not just a circumstance that didn't meet their worthiness...

    "She's beautiful...she's an addict?" was the common response...I can see why you aren't throwing her on the street...

    So because she was beautiful she was worth trying to help? When did beauty become a worthiness to live? I really saw so many were ignorant and crude.

    Some of the very people who didn't understand how anyone could get addicted began to see addiction hit home a few years later. Grandparents, nephews, nieces...etc...karma? No. It's reality. It's an epidemic.

    I learned about her addiction through the police of all people. I had no clue what I was dealing with, so I fully understand the ignorance...but the rudeness and the judging I don't understand at all...

    A policeman told me he had gotten in a motorcycle accident and ripped half of his face off. He was told not to take Oxy because of the high rate of addiction...and he didn't...he tossed his prescription away and endured excruciating pain...and then he began seeing so many succumb to its evil pull. He thanked me for helping her... He was the first person to show compassion...he understood and through him and others I began to understand. This drug didn't care who you were...rich...poor...good lives, not so good lives...young and old...male or female...and your "pusher" often started as your doctor.

    Funny thing, I have such a bad back that I was told I have six conditions, which is rare. I've never liked taking pills. Thank God. The first thing my doctor did 10 years ago was write me an Oxy prescription. I didn't know what Oxy was...Because I don't like taking medicine, I shredded the prescription. I wanted to know why my back hurt, not cover the pain...I went back several times and he wrote me prescriptions. I finally got mad and asked for him to see what was causing the pain, not mask it. I didn't take the meds. I have a high tolerance to pain.

    Katrina wasn't as lucky. Nor are thousands upon thousands who were given pain meds and not told how addictive they could become...

    I remember a guy telling me his mom was on pain pills for years and she wasn't addicted. She acted fine. I told him to take her pills away. I bet she won't be fine. Oxy and other narcotics weren't made to take long term, or so I've been told. Yet doctors were passing them out like candy, some making money under the table, contributing to addiction.

    Please get off your high horses because when you least expect it, it may just take someone you love away...and this young woman was taken away. And I met her mother. The mother I never wanted to meet because I too judged.

    The mother was Katrina King. And I learned so much about addiction through Katrina and her daughter...Her daughter died and it changed my life. She wasn't just an addict. She was sweet, she was gorgeous, she was intelligent...and she was my son's girlfriend...she was loved...I thought if only she could try harder...I didn't understand her withdrawals were worse than any flu you could imagine.

    Educate yourself. It may just save a life one day....

  21. Trent

    Addiction to opioids comes from the intense rush you get when, injecting, inhaling out snorting the drug. It releases dopamine in the brain which causes an extremely euphoric feeling which I'm not sure the body can get naturally.
    The person then likes this feeling and keeps trying it. Eventually your body needs, and I mean physically needs this drug just to function. It's the worst drug I've ever did and the withdrawals were absolutely horrible and unimaginable.
    I struggled with addiction for over ten years and can say I've been clean now for close to four months.
    Never in a million years did I ever think I would get addicted (I was a police officer when I first started) and after I got addicted and my life went downhill I started to think that never in a million years am I ever going to be able to stop.
    Please don't think for a minute that just because it's legal if you have a prescription that you won't get addicted. Big pharma knows Howe addicting it is but do you think they care? Hell no, as long as they're getting their money they're happy.
    If just like to thank all of those for making this documentary. I trusted to so much of it and can only imagine the hurt from losing a child to this epidemic.
    To those fighting addiction, I am by no means safe in my recovery, I fight it everyday, every night and every time I see one of my old "friends". Hang in there, it'll get better and easier I'm told and just the few months I've been clean I feel so much better. I can actually sleep at night without worrying about where I'm going to get my next high or having to take something to go to sleep because my legs are needing with me so bad. For those of you that have no idea what addicts to this drug are going through, educate yourself. It can happen to anyone, anywhere and when you least expect it.

  22. Katrina King

    Trent,
    Thank you!!! I commend you for speaking out buthe most of all, I'm so thankful you are clean. You are amazing and the world needs you . Too many angry and cynical people out there , you explain the condition well and you own it perfectly. Thank you... -Warmly, Katrina

  23. Matt Mephisto

    I'm going to have a hard time accepting anything in the film due to those that produced it, and their history in making such propan... erghh... "films".
    I've seen a wide array of comments here, many with valid points. Personally I have been on high level opiates for almost a decade now. I despise these pills so much, but I realize that without them I would have committed suicide years ago. So my viewpoint is one that others share but with my own perspective of course.
    I take three 60mg oxycontin, and three 30mg oxycodone daily (That's just my opioid medications.) and I truly hate them. In a logical world where greed was a deciding factor in decisions created by our rulers, I would be using natural opiates by adding a few drops of poppy latex into a bottle of water (I do not like alcohol, but it is more effective as a tincture base.) and sip from the bottle as needed throughout the day. (Sadly, this concept of common sense is illegal. Why it is illegal is a long, and saddening subject to those willing to research it. ) I would also use other "illegal" medicines that nature provides, but those too are illegal in my state.
    I cannot live without higher doses of pain medications (I have actually dropped in dosage over the years through an alternative therapy known as neuro-feedback/biofeedback treatments. ) and I cannot do the natural form without risking imprisonment. So I am damned if I do, and damned if I don't.
    What is most ridiculous is the modern day witch hunt that will rarely, if ever, effect those that abuse the medicines, but will cause a great deal of stress and harm to those of us in need of them to make it through each day. Why this is being done this way borders upon conspiracy theory, but it has been pointed out in the comment section already about the increase of opium production in Afghanistan, as well as the increase of Afghanistan based opium making it's way to America.

    So to all Americans desiring this witch hunt I ask you to observe history of the war on drugs in the US. Your blind obedience is only helping to manipulate you into hurting those in need, while creating a revenue system for those in power.

  24. james

    It's are bodys not the GOV!!!! USA free bullsh*t!!! WE are a just slaves for the GOV.

  25. oshee

    all is well

  26. Mike Grondahl

    Pain is the gateway drug. Pain in the body, pain in the psyche, pain in the heart or loss are the instigators of addiction. Pot has its´dangers but also a medicinal/therapeutic use, If you want to examine the roots of addiction look at candy, tobacco (!) or alcohol. Pot is a stimulant that becomes a depressant. That is when you reconsider your chemical intake, in my book.

  27. Mike Grondahl

    I have to say despite the film´s intention identify addict behavior and its´consequences, the documentary verges at times on emotional pornography and bypasses the root causes of these drug abuses such as young adults having access to softer more social drugs like beer and pot. Intoxication is part of life and though. ideally, no one should touch a drug before the age of 25 when the brain has fully developed. But, at that age, it is time to grow up and move forward. The only option is infrequent jaunts to Merryland when the day is done.

  28. Kory Paredes

    Here comes the Marijuana "gateway drug" bullshit again

  29. Clayton Leach

    if i hear one more of u say pot got you to opiates ive been stung out from 17 til now 44 just weening off methadone again n ive been persribed pot for my mental issues n get off them all adventually but i went from smoking a quarter ounce a day to nothing at all overnight at 23 n i never started again til a year ago when i was perscribed but i never had anything pot related get me into opiates beecause its retardedly illegal u hae to go to illegal places but if u choose to do something you choose don't cop out n tell people a bold faced lie like pot got me into down bs you knew what u were taking n also know its addictive. i mean really lets pull our heads out of our as*es anyone that thinks pot is even a drug holy selfies kill more people per year than pot seriously look it up!

  30. chris

    This is a scripted look, by the dea into a world that everyone has the same story. They all went through the same thing and they all started from marijuana. What job can you work where someone will give you a pill that they know could send them to jail. This is a sad story with real people you don't need to fake it DEA put real addicts on your videos take your narrative away and release a real documentary.

  31. Superman

    Before I write this I want to say that substance abuse is a real problem and I have great compassion to all involved. This appears to be a modern day propaganda film as I have seen with marijuana in the 1930's or the TV ads 'this is your brain on drugs' with the intention of scaring the viewer. This films projects the substance as the problem and therefore keeps alive the "War on Drugs" as a solution which from my point of view is a complete and total failure. In one scene a FBI Agent states "the best thing that can happen to you is to get arrested" really?? The film then contradicts itself by saying treatment is necessary in order for a person to become healed. So which is it treatment or prison? The War on Drugs has been an utter failure and there are like 1000 things I can say to back this up but on the other hand if you like having more people in prison than China then it is good. The best documentaries on substance abuse show the ills of the substance and the ways to resolve those issues which appears to be treatment and not prison. Anyone who follows this subject matter knows this and is aware of Portugal which legalized all drugs and actually had drug use go down.

  32. Srah

    It's utter crap like this and some of the comments here, that are a lot of what causes the worst situation that has ever happened to me.

    I've not had an easy life, it started with abuse and an alcoholic mother, and I now find myself with degenerative disc disease and MS, not to mention a few other issues. You'd think all of that would be the worst, but as awful as it is, and it truly is, the thing that has destroyed me and my life the most has been this crazy attempt to do the impossible with the attack on opioids and the drug war. Everywhere you go, you hear about how there is an "Opioid epidemic" and that something needs to be done, we are awash in the belief that we have to make opioids harder to get somehow. It's hands down strictly fear mongering, and it's so destructive.

    My life has been made so much worse by this sort of thing, and I have done NOTHING wrong, I don't, and never have, abused drugs or even alcohol, I didn't even do anything to lead to my health and pain troubles. I live, 24/7, in constant pain, and while I have tried many many things to feel better, both that I wanted to do and that I didn't, the only thing that works at all is opioids. I absolutely do not want to be on them, and good on the person who said they could handle their pain (and hinted we all should be able to), but it's the one thing that allows me the life I do have.

    Why is the Drug War and claims of an opioid epidemic so bad for me? Because despite claims that as long as people like me do what they are suppose to and everything will be just fine, that's no true, not even slightly. I regularly run out of my main pain pill, I don't mean rarely, I mean it happens every third month or so. When it happens I not only have no pain relief, but I also go through withdrawals, which just makes everything worse. This happens because every time a new law or idiotic rule gets pushed through, no thought is put into how it works with or against all the other laws or rules. I'm not allowed any backup, at all, matter of fact, the person who posted about how they have 90 days worth in their drawer may be committing a felony if any of that is in excess of a single script. I can't fill this script any sooner than three days before I run out, that alone might be okay if any time I needed to fill my prescription I was able to, but that's not the case. There is only one pharmacy within an hours drive of my house that both carries my prescription, and will fill it. I've called every single one within an hours drive (no, seriously) and none of them will take on new patients, they simply can't. They aren't in control of how much, or even when, they get of these sorts of medications, so they generally only get enough for the patients they already have. All that means that my pharmacy only has any of this medication on the day they get their shipment. Do the math on that, if I can't fill it until three days before I run out, and my pharmacy only has it one day a week, and it's a felony for me to have any in reserve....

    This only scratches the surface of why films like this do way more harm than good, I could write pages of what this situation has done to me, and what I have endured. I'm not unique, I personally know two people that chose to go to the street to get pain meds, it was quicker, easier, less stressful, and they knew they could always get it. All of this for an unobtainable goal. You can NOT force someone to get clean, you can't, the person has to chose to do it on their own. Everyone thinks they can make it so difficult to get opioids that an addict will stop or not be able to get what they want, but if they can't get the one they want, they'll get something else. That's how addiction works.

    One final comment, I keep reading about how the "EVIL" pharmaceutical companies only want to make money.

    Thank God. What ever their reason is, whether it be wholly out of greed and some seriously unlikely desire to force us to take them, or because they want to help people, I thank every thing that's holy, and everything I care for that they do. I know a lot of people believe that somehow every single ailment on earth can be cured by some natural item (lets not forget that opium is from poppies), but in reality that's not necessarily true. Hell, even if it could be, I'd probably still pick them, because each pill I take is a very specific amount and strength, and mother nature doesn't work that way. If not for them, I might not be alive any more, the pain may have been to much to take eventually.

    So please, before insisting "something should be done" or "opioids should be illegal", remember some of us take them because we have to.

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