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PHILADELPHIA NEWS

DEA, FBI, & US Attorney’s Office Distribute Chasing the Dragon to High School Superintendents across Eastern Pennsylvania

SEP 23 (PHILADELPHIA) – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Gary Tuggle, along with Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Michael Harpster and U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, announced today that Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict, a documentary about the dangers of prescription opioid and heroin abuse, has been distributed to high school superintendents across Eastern Pennsylvania. 

This documentary, which was released jointly by the DEA and FBI in February of this year, is a compilation of heart-wrenching first-person accounts by addicts and family members of addicts about their experiences.  In an effort to stimulate discussion in high schools, this 45-minute documentary comes with a corresponding study guide meant to assist teachers presenting the documentary in classrooms.  

As part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s overall prevention strategy to combat the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic, Chasing the Dragon was distributed to 113 superintendents across the nine counties that comprise the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which includes Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Philadelphia, and Northampton Counties.      

In 2015, 1,573 drug related overdose deaths were reported in the nine counties noted above.  A total of 3,383 people died across Pennsylvania in 2015 from drug overdoses; heroin and the presence of at least one opioid were reported in 81% of these deaths.   

“It is our intent that this documentary, which graphically depicts the perils and all too often fatal consequences of prescription opioid and heroin abuse, conveys the severity of this public health issue to high school students across the region,” said Tuggle.

“This film is meant to be an eye-opener for students,” said Harpster. “It’s raw, and it’s real. Most importantly, it puts a human face on the heroin and opioid epidemic that’s claiming dozens of lives a day across the country.” 

“This film personalizes the opioid and heroin abuse crisis and vividly demonstrates the horrors of drug addiction," said Memeger. "The stories shared in this film show the incredible difficulties of battling opioid addiction and the consequences that people throughout our communities suffer every day under the spell of these dangerous drugs.   Hopefully, this film helps students realize that they need to make the right decisions about using drugs and that there is no shame in seeking professional help if they need it.  Nobody wants to become another victim of this crisis."

Members of the media wanting more information about Chasing the Dragon are asked to contact DEA Public Information Officer/Special Agent Patrick J. Trainor at either (215) 852-8740 or patrick.j.trainor@usdoj.gov. 


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