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Who in Birmingham doesn’t know someone who’s been affected by the opioid epidemic? If you’re wondering why people get addicted and what you can do about it, Jeff State’s viewing and discussion of Chasing the Dragon is the event for you.
If you want to learn more about the epidemic and what you can do to help slow it, check out this article we did back in January 2019.
Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict—Viewing + Panel Discussion
Everybody’s invited to watch the film, followed by a panel discussion, on Monday, April 15, from 6-8pm.
Opioid addiction doesn’t discriminate, and it’s really easy for people to get hooked, even on their first time trying the drugs.
Chasing the Dragon was created by the FBI and the DEA. It features real people who abused these drugs themselves or whose kids did.
Viewing the film at the event may be helpful in developing group compassion and understanding. There will be attendees present who are recovering or have a loved one in their life who is in recovery or active addiction. These individuals can provide a wonderful opportunity for understanding. We’ll end with a discussion about opioid use disorder and treatment options.John A. Dantzler, PhD, UAB’s Vice Chair for Addiction Programs and Executive Director, Beacon Recovery Program
Post-Chasing the Dragon discussion with a rock star panel
After the movie screening, there’s a panel discussion with five guys who will share their experience and knowledge and answer questions:
- John Dantzler, Executive Director of the Beacon Recovery Program
- John Steakley, Executive Director of Unbound Grace Ministry and recovering addict
- Mike Vest, Coach, Addiction Expert, Public Servant, Motivational Speaker
- Clay Hammac, Executive Director Compact 2020
- Todd Bobe, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge
Save your spot now, and invite your friends to Chasing the Dragon in Birmingham
The event is free and open to the public. Be sure to register on Eventbrite to save your spot.
Where: Jefferson State Community College’s Hoover Campus, Health Sciences Building—Multi-Purpose Room A, 4600 Valleydale Road, Birmingham, AL 35242
When: Monday, April 15, 6-8 pm
The takeaways on opioid abuse, prevention and recovery
John Dantzler hopes people will take away three things from this event:
First, it’s important to understand that opioid addiction can happen to anyone and is prevalent in all parts of the United States—urban, suburban and rural areas. Watching Chasing the Dragon will bring a greater awareness of the breadth of this epidemic.
Second, I’d like viewers to understand the debilitating nature of this addiction. Opioid addiction is brutal. This makes recovery difficult—but not impossible. I would hope that viewers can better understand the way opioids rewire the brain and suppress a user’s ability to resist the need to continue using.
Third, I hope viewers come away with more compassion for those battling an opioid use disorder. It’s too easy to demonize and marginalize those with opioid use treatment needs. It’s easy to blame a user for relapse. Viewers need to understand the difficult journey to long term recovery and establish compassion for those going through this journey.
Event sponsors for Chasing the Dragon in Birmingham
A number of groups have put this event together to “raise awareness of drug abuse and the profound downward spiral that can be caused by opiate addiction.” They are:
- FBICAAA: The FBI Birmingham Citizens Academy Alumni Association is a nonprofit organization separate and apart from the FBI.
- Addiction Prevention Coalition
- Compact 2020
- Jefferson State Community College
- Americorps Vista
- Fox 6 News
Opioid addiction: what you can do
We’re big fans of this article that we published back in January 2019. In it, we interviewed two local experts (Dr. Stefan Kertesz of UAB and Leslie Plaia with the Recovery Resource Center) and Dr. Kimberly Braxton Lloyd from Auburn University. Here are the highlights:
- You’ll learn about pathways to addiction, including overprescribing.
- Next the experts provided tips on prevention—for young people and those who love them and for people having medical or dental procedures.
- From there, we looked at treatment options, signs and symptoms of addiction and what to do if someone you love needs help.
- The experts talked with us about how recovery is possible.
- Finally, they shared with us about recognizing and avoiding overdose.
Key resources include:
- The Recovery Resource Center at 1515 6th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35233. (205)458-3377
- Keep Naloxone (Narcan) on hand—if you or someone you know is addicted to opioids, it’s essential to keep this medicine and to know how to use it to reverse the effects of overdose.
- The Recovery Resource Center holds monthly naloxone trainings. These include how to administer this potentially life-saving medication and how to perform rescue breathing. Trainings take place on the fourth Wednesday of each month at Cooper Green. Kits are provided at the end of the training.
Want to go? Reserve your spot now. Invite your friends to join you. Share this article. Finally, check out the previous article we did on what you can do about the opioid crisis. You never know whose life you might save.