DEA, FBI release graphic heroin video to high schoolers

For the first time in recent history, the DEA and the FBI are formally teaming up to tackle the opioid epidemic. They unveiled a documentary, meant for high school students, to a group of suburban school officials on Wednesday.

46,000 people are dying from drug overdoses in the United States and federal agents say more than half of those are prescription pill and heroin overdoses.

The federal agencies produced “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict,” which is a graphic, real and raw documentary from heroin and prescription pill users and their families.

The 45 minute film is supposed to be for high school students, but FBI Chicago Special Agent in Charge Michael Anderson told the crowd at Westmont High School he fears they will soon need to be reaching out to students even younger.

Karen Flowers, the DEA Chicago Associate Special Agent in charge, says we are facing the biggest drug epidemic in U.S. history.

“There's more heroin in Chicago available today than in history,” said Flowers.

There is a strong correlation between prescription pills and heroin. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 3 out of 4 new heroin users say they've abused prescription opioids. Once the prescription runs out, they go in search of an alternative, which often ends up being heroin.

“We are in that type of crisis that we need that type of wake up call,” said Anderson.

This new video is not sugarcoated, it's riddled with scenes of death and profanity.

Teachers at Westmont High are some of the first to see the film in the area and still deciding whether or not to show it to their students.

“We have to take a look, there’s some vulgar language and it's very powerful we have to run that by our staff and our community,” said Kevin Weck the Assistant Principal and Dean of Students at Westmont High School.

“I think it's kind of a taboo topic, but we surely know it's happening in our community,” said English teacher Erika Eckart.

If you want to share this video with your classroom, your church, family, or sit down with your kids, you can find the complete video here.