MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The heroin problem in America is real, growing, and already in Alabama.
That's why the U.S. Attorney's Office invited students from Alabama State University and Huntingdon College, as well as members of the community, to attend a screening of "Chasing the Dragon" at the Capri Theater in old Cloverdale.
The documentary shows several stories of heroin addiction, emphasizing that it could happen to anyone, anywhere.
"The use of heroin is not restricted to any age class. Teenagers, 20-year-olds, 50-year-old's, recently a 70-year-old has been caught with heroin laced with Fentanyl," said George Beck, U.S. Attorney for Alabama's Middle District.
That addiction is destroying families and killing thousands, something a member of our WSFA family knows all too well.
Chief Meteorologist Josh Johnson lost his brother, Chris, last October to an addiction developed after an athletic injury.
Johnson spoke to the audience after the film.
"It cost his two-year-old son, Parker, a chance to know his dad. It cost me my only brother and my best friend. It cost my parents their youngest son. It cost my brown haired, infinitely clever and always laughing brother Chris his life. So don't ever tell me heroin is cheap," Johnson said.
The testimonies in the movie, as well as hearing from Johnson in person, led many in the audience to take notice of the problem, even if it hasn't impacted their lives.
"That was very brave considering he said it hasn't even been a year since that happened," said Sarah Brooks, a student at Huntingdon. "And I just thought it was great that someone in the community, someone really close to us could share that experience so it was even more real."
According to federal numbers, 78 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose and overdose deaths from opioids have quadrupled since 1999.
Officials say knowing about this problem is the first step to stopping it.
To view the film "Chasing the Dragon", you can watch it here.