A REVIEW OF “CHASING THE DRAGON”

Below is a video made by the FBI. It is about the opiate epidemic that is now plaguing our nation. Here is the Youtube description

Published on Feb 4, 2016
In an effort to combat the growing epidemic of prescription drug and heroin abuse, the FBI and DEA have released “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict,” a documentary aimed at educating students and young adults about the dangers of addiction. More at http://www.fbi.gov/ChasingTheDragon
Category
News & Politics
License
Standard YouTube License

As one might expect, parts of the video are so-so. The bigwigs have to have their say. There are the obligatory statistics, but the makers of the video clearly understand that talk from the bigwigs and statistics don’t make much of an impression. Therefore, the “stars” of the video are people entrapped by an addiction to opiates.

I got a DVD of film above from the church I attend. Because I am a news junkie and because I had talked to some of the guys at my church about the problem, I was curious, but the DVD just sat on my desk. Finally, I started to feel guilty. We were not suppose to grab the DVD if we did not intend to watch the video. Therefore, I grit my teeth and starting playing the video. Boring, but I had committed myself to watch it. Then it started to get interesting. By the end I was teary-eyed.

The foolish things we do! Young people think they are invincible. Old people know better, but how can we explain?

The people featured in the video are ordinary. They did not set out to be drug abusers or felons. In fact, many people get hooked on opiates these days just because doctors prescribe them as painkillers. To help those who get hooked, the police have to put them in jail.

So what makes the drug addicts in this film special? They admitted they have a serious problem, and they need help with it. Unfortunately, even the help we can give them is not really enough. So some of them succumbed to the horrible temptation again, and some of them overdosed.

Could it happen to you or someone you love? Yes. We are built to seek pleasure, and some people experience a powerful sensation of pleasure when they take opiates. If you don’t understand just how serious that is, watch the video.

What are we supposed to do about this problem? I am not certain. I just know I don’t want anyone I care about taking these drugs.

 

14 thoughts on “A REVIEW OF “CHASING THE DRAGON”

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  1. Tom you bring up an excellent topic. In some of my posts I voiced my concern that the number one problem in the country that overlaps into many areas championed by others is mental health. We are way too afraid to deal with any aspect of that problem yet it is responsible for mass shootings, murder, drug abuse (hence opioid use) and a myriad of other social maladies. If we attack mental health we address the rest. Although opioid use, or abuse, sneaks up on you when you needlessly or over-medicate. Oh well. If we had all the answers we’d not be bloggers. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mental health is certainly important, but there are limits as to what we can do about the mental health of others.

      Consider Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (=> https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html). Within certain limits government can provide for our Biological and Physiological needs, but government’s real job is to provide for our Safety needs. Our other needs we have to help each other fulfill.

      That’s why when someone is on opiates or suffering severe mental confusion the only thing the government can do for them is put them in jail. Because someone who is on opiates or severely mentally ill is a threat to others, the government can lock them up and attempt to treat their addiction. Government, however, has no effective way to treat an opioid addiction that builds up the will of a person to quit. In fact, locking people up generally tears them down.So one might argue that putting someone in jail is too much and way too late. Still, when someone is hooked on opiates, it is the only option the government has.

      I think that is the point of video. When people are hooked, there is not much law enforcement can do. Then we have an unfolding tragedy, a drug addict wishing he or she had never taken that first pill.

      Can we limit the ability of doctors to proscribe opiates? I suppose so, but I don’t know enough about the issues.

      So what is the solution? Jesus, I think is the major part of the solution, but that involves a personal decision. To make Jesus the solution requires Christians to accept their role as Jesus’ hands and feet. Each Christian can only make that choice for him or her self. It is not up for a vote. I can ask Jesus to help me accept Him as my Lord, but I can only pray for others to do the same. Therefore, I am uncertain what “we” are suppose to do about this problem.

      Like

      1. Interesting. I am also a follower of Maslow… have been for decades.
        I submit that our greatest threat is our ever growing population. Just because of our cheer numbers government will impede more and more. Here’s a simple example… one would think common healthcare would be more an individual decision and government is continuing to present the idea that while some level of affordable healthcare has socio-economic benefits to lower incomes, what’s being a bit ignored is healthcare is for the common good hence more an issue of availability than affordability.

        We have reached the point where the things our neighbor does or does not do affects me or my family living next door. Why? Let’s say family-next-door can’t afford certain aspects of healthcare. My kids play with their kids… and given the exotic diseases that are popping up as a result of the world’s growing population their inability to keep up with their health needs has allowed some damn disease to spread over to my kids. So what we in the past thought was some freedom of choice, in this case picking affordable healthcare or not affects more than just your family. I personally think universal, or government paid, healthcare is inevitable… but it will include mandates because while free there will still be people who could care less about their own healthcare.

        Mental health will be extraordinarily complex to solve… largely because it will likely include imposing on a person’s individual freedoms. BUT… we (the government) needs to completely study and discuss all aspects of the problem, including treatments so we can better understand the broad complexities of the problem. Example… every one of the domestic shootings in this country were done by individuals with mental issues.. lone wolves with mental and social identity problems, and not determined Islamic jihadists pushing a political agenda to destroy infidels in the name of Allah.

        Opioid use is only part of the greater problem. But I do most certainly agree with you on the tragedy of it all. Now… if religious doctrine helps to remedy a person’s situation I am all for it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. @Doug

          You may wish to read The Spirit of laws by Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu. The framers of our Constitution certainly considered his book. One of the things they worried about was the difficulty of making a large republic work..Their solution was a federation, but that brings another set of problems, as they were aware. I doubt the Civil War would have astonished them. It would have severely disappointed them. Because it makes little economic sense, most of them probably expected slavery to disappear in time. The cotton gin changed that, at least long enough to set the war in motion.

          The basic problem with making the government a provider of something is the issue of factional politics. We all want something somebody else has. When we start seeing government as the way of getting what we want, we form factions dedicated to getting us what we want.

          Some people proclaim there is a right to healthcare. Since you did not I guess you know there is no such right, at least a right to healthcare at the expense of the public. Everyone, of course, has the right to purchase healthcare.

          Therefore, it seems you have chosen to argue that “we” need to provide our neighbors healthcare to protect our own health. To a limited extent, I suppose that is true. We want our government to make certain people get certain immunizations, we don’t dead bodies on the street, we want immigrants with contagious diseases and vermin issues kept out of the country, and we sometimes need to confine people with mental health issues. Are there other such issues? I suppose so, but these are what I came up with off the top of my head.

          The problems that crop up with immunizations shots and vaccines are disease specific. When people don’t get their shots, it makes it difficult to stamp out a disease like we did small pox. On the other hand, even if we have a great vaccine, if a disease resides in a wild animal population, we probably cannot get rid of it. So we may need to get as many people immunized as we can just because some people cannot take the shots. If enough people are immunized, usually a disease cannot spread.

          The reason for getting dead bodies off the street should be obvious, as should the motivation for keeping out immigrants with diseases like tuberculosis and vermin like bed bugs in their luggage.

          The mental disease issue arises because some mental illnesses are so serious we have to lock up the folks who have such an illness. When we lock people up, we acquire the obligation to treat their illness. Is this expensive? Yes. Complicated as hell? Yes. Does it cover drug abuse? Yes. Solvable? Not sure what that means. I just know we have to lock some people up and try to help them. Many our “experts” will release, thinking them well, and they will go right back to abusing themselves and others.

          So are your neighbor’s kids likely to give your kids some disease? Well, if they are properly immunized, not dead, did not sneak across the border, mentally stable, take baths and eat properly, probably not. Lice have always been a problem, but the local drug store has a cheap “cure”.

          Were the jihadists who killed people mentally ill? No. Most were not. There are psychologists who will try to convince us that 70 percent of us have mental health issues. Well, if we broadly define what we call a mental health issue, I suppose that is true, but I don’t think it is helpful. Mental health professionals don’t exist to eliminate personal responsibility. People who cannot behave responsibly cannot be good citizens, and the mentally ill have no business voting. Do you really want to go there? Doubt it. Only 30 percent of the population is allowed to vote because psychologists won’t certify the sanity of the rest? Do you really think Conservatives would put up with being certified insane by liberal psychologists?

          So let’s not confuse terrorism with mental illness. A mental illness does not make someone evil. When someone is having a hallucination, experiencing visions of grandeur, suffering paranoia; the primary danger they pose arises from the fact they don’t know what they are doing. The problem with terrorists is that they know exactly what they are doing, and they think what they are doing is good.

          Is Christianity a solution? For some people, I think so. Who? That’s above my pay grade.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. You interpret my reply soundly for most of it, Tom. But the single thing the Fore Fathers, Founding Fathers, European governmental philosopher/theorists have failed to consider because they never would have thought of this is population growth. THAT changes the tapestry and urgency of everything from now on. We will slowly see “for the public good” seep into legal definitions as justifications to trim off segments of our traditional freedoms.. and because of fear we will likely accept those changes….. more so in our kids’ lifetimes. Unless of course some event comes along to thin out the human herd.

          Regarding mental health and terrorism, I was expressing the domestic demographic of lone wolves here in America. They are pure nutcases under some pretext of jihad but nothing truly representing the political commitment or indoctrination training of the type and quality received from European or Mid Eastern group training. The only thing closest here was the San Bernardino husband/wife team… and maybe the Boston Bomber brothers. Our domestic lone wolves read/listen to a few websites, but what brings them there are issues of mental deficiency and social inadequacy. These people are working on their own and not part of any strategic group or assault cell. Simply put, they are not team players because they have issues.

          I mentioned that the complexities of any sort of national mental health program, whether government sponsored or not, is that someone somewhere will have to pass judgement on another person to have their freedoms violated by locking them up. It’s very similar to the concept of having the right to die, or assisted suicide. The fear there is someone will find a way to legally off an idiot relative to collect insurance money. Well.. what if someone wants to judge YOU mentally incompetent and lock you away simply because someone saw you on the back porch stroking your 12 gauge during Ramadan? My point, Tom.. yes.. it’s not simple in the least to solve.. but collectively we need to study the problem, the cures, and most assuredly the legal ramifications.

          Like

        3. @Doug

          Did the Fore Fathers, Founding Fathers, European governmental philosopher/theorists failed to consider the effects of population growth? I doubt it. The Spirit of Law speaks of the increasing problems of maintaining a republic with respect to the increasing size of the territory encompassed by a republic. That’s because Athens and Rome provide the primary examples, but population growth within a territory creates similar issues.

          Consider also that the Thirty Years War (huge numbers of people died) predates the Constitutional Convention and that Robert Malthus published An Essay on the Principle of Population not too many years after the Constitutional Convention. Finally, note that some of the Founders had been in Europe. They understood Europe had a much denser population.

          The mobs of great cities add just so much to the support of pure government, as sores do to the strength of the human body. It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigour. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution. — Thomas Jefferson (=> https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Mankind)

          Do I think lone wolf terrorists are mentally healthy? I would agree we cannot always distinguish well between someone with a modicum of wisdom and someone who apparently lacks wisdom. Still, it seems more appropriate to refer to terrorists as desperate people who have turned to the wrong ideas for their salvation.

          Contemplate the meaning of wisdom. What does it mean to lack contentment?

          In America many tend to think of wisdom as knowing enough to acquire enough. For these, contentment is having enough to be well entertained and well fed. None of such are ever long content. Hence we can be very nasty, grasping souls.

          There is, however, the thought that there is more to this life than this life. When we start contemplating what comes after in the hereafter, some of us do strange and wonderful things. Others do some very ugly and awful things. What we do depends largely upon what we define as wise.

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  2. Sad, Tom. I watched opiates completely change the face of my community. It’s tragic,not just for the addicts, but for everyone around them. When times get hard, we tend to pour things into the abyss of our souls. Many things have contributed to the epidemic,the plunging economy, lax enforcement of immigration, Obamacare and over prescription of opiates. I call lit a perfect confluence of horrors, all coming together to create a disaster.

    I don’t think people realize how much this somewhat invisible epidemic lead to President Trump’s election. A whole lot of people where desperate for change,for somebody to hear us. Traditional, “standard” politicians completely swept everything under the rug and supported policies that made everything worse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That last paragraph certainly contains a zinger.

      As I observed to Doug (above), I don’t think there is a political solution. Trump can fight the opioid epidemic by locking up dealers and working to restrict the prescription of opiates, but that won’t stop people. When I was in college the “weed” was in vogue. Our elected officials tried to scare people from using it. Did not work. Alcohol is perhaps more dangerous, and greedy people advertise it for its sex appeal. How does being in a drunken stupor make one sexy? Don’t know, but when times get hard, we do tend to pour the oddest things into the abyss of our souls.

      Hebrews 13:5-6 New International Version (NIV)

      5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

      “Never will I leave you;
      never will I forsake you.”

      6 So we say with confidence,

      “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
      What can mere mortals do to me?”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Why news sources, both gov, schools, and private sources are not spresding the facts anf warnings of the epidmic is pure folly in my opinion.

    For exsmple, if youth knew that once they become an addict, the recidivism rate is 80 percent that they will never become free of their addiction for the rest of their lives.

    Fear is the beg inning of widom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The government is not in the business of teaching wisdom. The film itself is an anomaly.

      Imagine being a policeman. You deal with this problem all the time, and there is little you can do about it, except pick up the broken pieces.

      Churches and parents exist to impart wisdom, but too many of us don’t do what we are suppose do. We expect some politicians making promises we know they won’t keep to do what we they won’t do so we can blame them for our own failures.

      Like

      1. The Government should alert us about an Epidemic, and not be afraid to be politically correct so as not to hurt the feelings those who are affected, in my opinion.

        Why the big secret that a huge number of addicts are told TN public of the long term consequences of becoming an addict?

        Like

        1. Government is driven by the interests of its constituencies. There is virtually no constituency that promotes wise government. Almost all of us vote to get some “thing” from government. Even the people who idolize government want some “thing” from government.

          How many politicians do we elect who tell us we have to do some things for ourselves within the context of our communities and without the help of government? They are very few.

          Teaching wisdom is something the government lacks the capacity to do. “Secular wisdom” is an oxymoron. Some politicians may be wise, but that is because they fear God. Wisdom is of God.

          Like

  4. “Fear is the beginning of wisdom.”

    Indeed, but I think what we forget is that these are prescribed drugs. Doctors are in positions of authority. We tell our kids to listen to authority. Your doctor said you need this. Some 80% of these addictions begin with a prescription.

    To complicate matters, we have huge pharmaceutical industry pressuring doctors to prescribe opiates working in conjunction with lax immigration policies that have enabled drug cartels to bring in the street drugs when the prescriptions run out or become unaffordable. So it is pressure from the top and pressure from the bottom, with well over a million people becoming collateral damage in the middle, resulting from poor health care and political policies. Addicts have some control,some personal responsibility,but they do not spring forth from a vacuum. Drugs are always brought in and introduced into a community.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As I pointed out to scatterwisdom, churches and parents exist to impart wisdom. Given their track record, why do we expect wisdom from politicians. They may have silver tongues, but wisdom. No. For the most part they just tell us what we want to hear. That is not wisdom.

      Liked by 1 person

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