HELENA – Health officials are sounding the alarm over an opioid crisis sweeping the treasure state.
According to John Doran, Blue Cross Blue Shield’s vice president of external affairs and chief of staff, opioid doses kill more people each year in the United States than car crashes.
Now, Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Helena Education Foundation and others are working to start a discussion and come up with solutions.
On Thursday, the Helena Education Foundation and Blue Cross Blue Shield sponsored the screening of ‘Chasing the Dragon – the life of an opioid addict.’
The film, created by the FBI and DEA, takes a look at the lives of addicts and how a small drug problem can quickly spiral into something much more serious.
Turn out from the community was large as people of all ages watched the documentary, which was followed up with a question and answer session.
Law enforcement, clinical experts, dependency experts and a judge with Helena’s drug treatment court all appeared on the panel.
Audience members asked questions anonymously by texting their inquiries to a phone number given before the screening.
Doran, who was the evening’s moderator, said it’s going to take all of community working together to solve this problem.
“We have an addiction to the pain killers that spirals out of control very quickly into hardcore heroine use. We need to be discussing this as a community and we need to have a collaborative effort to move forward and find solutions,” Doran said.
Thursday’s screening was open to the public.
It’s the second screening this week following a screening at Helena High School on Tuesday.
You can watch the film in its entirety on the FBI website by clicking here.