ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. (WCCO) — A national addiction epidemic is the focus of a local film festival taking place in St. Louis Park this weekend.
The annual Twin Cities Film Fest has a special Changemaker Series that focuses on addiction this year. One of the films, called “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of An Opiate Addict,” was produced by the FBI. The documentary sheds light on the opioid abuse epidemic.
“Being addicted to opiates is like chasing a dragon,” one addict shares in the film. “You’re always look for that first high.”
“Chasing the Dragon,” directed by Thomas Benca, gives a real-life look at addiction to opioids and the impact on loved ones.
“It can be anyone, it doesn’t discriminate based on sex, gender, race,” FBI Minneapolis media coordinator Jeffrey Van Nest said.
Steve Rummler, a successful financial adviser from the Twin Cities, was a victim.
“Rather than planning our wedding what I ended up doing was planning his funeral,” Lexi Reed Holtum, from Eden Prairie, said.
Rummler died from an opioid overdose in 2011 at the age of 43 after he became addicted to prescription pain pills. Reed Holtum, his fiancé, took part in a panel Saturday after the “Chasing the Dragon” screening to talk about the magnitude of the problem.
“The first step is getting rid of the stigma,” Reed Holtum said. “Nobody would choose this disease. Nobody would choose to die like Steve died.”
It’s an overall message in the Changemaker Series. The Twin Cities Film Fest at the Showplace ICON Theatre is in its eighth year.
Moviegoers can find films on opioid abuse, but also addiction to alcohol, social media and porn. It’s entertainment with education — and Reed Holtum hopes, a mission to save lives.
“Ask for help because you have value and worth and you deserve to get the medical care that anybody would receive for any other disease,” she said.
Reed Holtum started a foundation after her fiance’s death that helped pass “Steve’s Law.” It improved Minnesotans’ access to Nalaxone, that can save a life when someone has overdosed.
The Twin Cities Film Fest runs through Oct. 28. For more information, click here.