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