The Stop Prescription Drug Abuse in the Flathead Coalition is bringing FBI Special Agent Shane Dana from Quantico, Virginia, and Michael Kulstad, FBI Public Affairs adviser from Washington, D.C., to Kalispell for several school presentations and community discussions this months.
Dana and Kulstad will hold two community film screenings of the FBI/DEA-produced documentary “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict” followed by a community discussion with law enforcement and community professionals on heroin and opioid prevention and treatment.
The first public presentation takes place from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, in the Flathead Valley Community College Arts and Technology Building, Room 139.
The second presentation takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, in the ballroom of the Red Lion Hotel in Kalispell.
Each session will begin with a screening of the 45-minute documentary and will follow with a panel discussion and question-and-answer session with Dana and Kulstad, along with local experts. They will share the efforts undertaken by the FBI and DEA to disrupt distributors, gangs, cartels and corrupt doctors who are driving the problem.
The film focuses on educating the dangers of opioid addiction and features stark first-person accounts by individuals who have abused opioids, or whose children have abused opioids with tragic consequences.
There is no cost to attend either session and everyone is welcome. Parents are advised that there is strong language; the documentary features authentic interviews, not actors.
The rise of heroin use and the abuse of prescription opioids in the United States is a huge challenge to public health and safety and threatens communities, families and children.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 44 people die every day in America from an overdose of prescription painkillers. Since 2014, more than 14,000 people have died from prescription opioid overdoses alone.
Additionally, the Stop Prescription Drug Abuse in the Flathead Coalition is also bringing the traveling art exhibition “Bitter Pill: Montana Lives Affected by Rx Abuse,” to Kalispell.
Presented by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the exhibition expresses the human side of prescription drug abuse and recovery and showcases 46 original works from amateur and professional artists from across Montana.
A public reception for the exhibit will take place from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, immediately following the film and community dialogue, in FVCC’s student art gallery in the Arts and Technology building. It will continue through Feb. 27 and will be open for public viewing from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday; and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
For more information on the STOP Prescription Drug Abuse in the Flathead Coalition, contact Linda Ravicher, prevention specialist, at 406-756-5653, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.