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Chasing the Dragon - America's Struggle with Opioid Addiction

If you or someone you know is hooked on prescription drugs such as Oxycontin and Vicodin, or street drugs like heroin, you'll connect with "Chasing the Dragon," a raw 2016 documentary about the horrors of drug addiction.

Produced by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the film features ordinary Americans sharing personal stories of danger and destruction that characterized their lives prior to recovery from hard-core drug addiction.

Because the documentary is filled with harsh language and disturbing images, parental discretion is advised.

In 2015, 52,404 Americans died from drug overdoses; 33,091 of them involved an opioid and nearly one third of them, 15,281, were by prescription.1,2,3 Meanwhile, kidney disease, listed as the 9th leading cause of death on the CDC's top 10 list, killed 48,146.4

The CDC does not include drug overdoses on this list, but if you did, drug overdoses (63 percent of which are opioids), would replace kidney disease as the 9th leading cause of death as of 2015.

Many of those featured in "Chasing the Dragon" are regular people from good homes and loving families. The one characteristic they had in common while using was a feeling of powerlessness to escape the spiraling cycle of drug use and abuse that dominated every moment of their lives.

One recovering addict, a woman named Melissa, had this to say about her drug use: "It became my full-time job. The needle was my boss — a very demanding boss."

To prevent you or someone you love from becoming addicted to prescription painkillers, I'd like to take a closer look at opioid abuse and offer several healthy alternatives to help you manage pain.

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