FBI documentary sobering
FBI documentary sobering
Ken McLemore, Hope Public Schools

HOPE – The faculty and student response to the Federal Bureau of Investigation documentary film “Chasing the Dragon” has been sobering for both.

Students at Hope Academy of Public Service and from the Hope High School campuses viewed the film Oct. 25 and 26 as part of annual Red Ribbon Week activities concerning drug abuse awareness.

The documentary was produced by the FBI and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to illustrate the devastating effects nationally from the use of opioid drugs. The film portrays the progression of an opioid addiction case, its wrenching emotional impact and uses graphic stories to make its point, according to the FBI statement.

HAPS Principal Dr. Carol Ann Duke said the film provoked serious discussion on her campus.

“Students have talked about the movie all day and how they now have more information about the dangers of drug use, even marijuana; perhaps, my favorite response to the movie was the student who asked, ‘How could a mother be so stupid?’ regarding the woman who shared the story of her own drug addition, her daughter mimicking that addition and her daughter dying at the age of twenty while the woman and her husband were both in jail on prescription fraud charges,” Duke said.

She said 165 students from her campus received parental permission to view the sometimes-graphic film.

“Those teachers who didn’t get to view the movie were so impressed by reports that were shared by students that all our staff have asked for the link to the movie so that they may view it and share it with others,” Duke said.

Some 600 Hope High School students viewed the documentary in two screenings, according to Hope Resource Officer Freddie Parks.

“Some of the strongest moments of reaction regarded the description of the woman with maggots in her leg, the lengths she went to obtain and use drugs, such as going to the drug dealer while still in a hospital gown, using toilet water to shoot up, and other things,” Officer Parks said.

He said student commentary was extensive.

“Of these comments, I was most encouraged by the students who cheered for the subjects that were able to overcome their addiction and were upset by those who returned to the addiction within days or hours of being released from jail,” Parks said.

He said he and fellow HRO Davey Jones believed the film had a positive impact at HHS.

“All things considered, we believe that the film succeeded in provoking thought and bringing attention to this important concern,” Parks said.

The film is an extension of the Little Rock FBI Community Outreach Program.