When we think about plagues, we normally think about diseases from viruses or bacteria. We don't think about these diseases coming from medicines. Someone in this country dies from an opiate overdose every 19 minutes. That's pretty startling, but here's something even more startling: 91% of those who survive an opiate overdose end up going right back on the drugs that nearly killed them.
Chris Bell is a documentary film maker who is tackling this issue head on through his work. Initially known for his film on performance enhancing drugs, Bigger, Stronger, Faster, Chris decided to tackle the prescription drug abuse epidemic with the movie Prescription Thugs after being affected by it personally. His brother Mike, who was featured in Bigger, Stronger, Faster, was an addict who died shortly after the film was released.
Chris also had a secret that made it even more personal - he was also an addict. Affected by years of pain from arthritis and hip surgeries, Chris was popping prescription pills like crazy.
Today, Chris is sober, largely because of a plant based product called Kratom. Kratom is a plant grown in Thailand that is used to aid in opiate withdrawal. It's also currently on the target list to be scheduled as a schedule 1 drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency. Chris is also currently working to ensure that Kratom stays legal and we cover his current project: a documentary on the legal battle to keep the plant legal.