Life of an Opium Addict screening draws in diverse crowd

Zoe Deno
Staff Writer

MB1_5544Photo By Mikey Bryant| The Hudsonian

The two-part event of the showing of Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict brings the community together to talk about addiction.

“Being addicted to opium is like chasing the dragon. You are constantly seeking that high, but what is going to happen when you catch it?” The words that opened the documentary highlight the struggles of not only opium addicts but their families too. Every seat in the auditorium was full for the presentation, leaving quite a few people standing in the back.

The event featured the screening of Chasing the Dragon which was followed by a discussion with Eric Dryer, who was a former addict himself and spoke about his path to recovery. The event attracted a diverse crowd.

A women by the name of Susan, who did not wish to give her last name, attended with the intention of seeing how help for addicts has progressed since the 90’s when her son was addicted.

“It’s so public now,” said Susan, “20 years ago when you had a kid who was addicted, it wasn’t something you talked about.”

“I went to the bottom of the barrel, and that still wasn’t enough. I know that if I had not gotten clean and sober my family would have buried me,” said Kimberly Allen, a former addict, was one of the many who attended.

“I’ve lost 11 friends in the past 17 months to heroin overdose. I believe that if I can do it, anyone can do it.

I’m here to support those who are currently addicted and those who are looking to stay in recovery,” said Allen.

The audience included members affected by the addiction and others who were only looking to be educated on the topic. Sarah Donlon brought her children to the event.

“We are here because knowledge is power, and I think it’s important for my kids to be aware of the situation that’s going on around them,” said Donlon.

The recreational use of opioids has become an increasing problem. In 80 percent of cases of opioid abuse in the 1960’s, heroin was the first drug used. In 75 percent of cases in the 2000’s, prescription opioids were the first used. Over 10 million people older than 12 in the U.S. have reported nonmedical use of prescription opioids. Each day, 44 people in the U.S. die from an overdose of prescription painkillers.

The U.S Attorney’s Office, The Rensselaer County Heroine Correlation, The Troy Drug-Free Community Coalition, and the Rensselaer Area Drug Awareness hosted the event.

Davia Colinton of the Drug Free Coalition said that this wasn’t the first time they hosted an event here and that they liked the venue so much, they decided that they would return.

Colinton said, “I’m all about prevention. I want to provide information, communicate to people and to convene the community to come here together to address the problem.”

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