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FBI Confidential: Chasing The Dragon Of Opioid Addiction

SALT LAKE CITY — 635 Utahns died as a result of drug overdoses in 2017, putting the rate of drug overdose deaths in Utah above the national average, and highlighting the unique challenges of the opioid epidemic in particular.

“It’s a tsunami that we have never seen before…It’s hitting areas and demographics we’ve never seen before,” said the FBI Salt Lake City Division’s Special Agent-In-Charge, Eric Barnhart.

In this scene from Chasing the Dragon, survivors recount their personal experiences either struggling with opioid addiction, or losing someone to an overdose.

In an interview with FBI Confidential’s Debbie Dujanovic, Barnhart advises anyone who has the opportunity to watch the video, Chasing the Dragon, which was produced by the FBI to address the dangers of opioid addiction.

The main takeaway Barnhart wants people to get from the above-mentioned video is,”It can happen to me.”

According to Barnhart, the opioid epidemic is the biggest problem for the division because it can start with prescription pills and ends up with heroin as users get more and more desperate to find a high. He explains that the potency of today’s heroin is off the charts because it is being laced with other drugs, like fentanyl. Users don’t always know what they are getting into.

“We try to dismantle national and international drug trafficking organizations,” Barnhart explains when asked about when and why the FBI gets involved in drug-related crime.