'We can't arrest our way out of it' — Philadelphia DEA agent talks opioid epidemic in Vice documentary

Approximately 55,000 Philadelphians engage in risky opioid use, according to mini-documentary from VICE News on the heroin epidemic in Philadelphia.

Here are three things to know.

1. Individuals who develop opioid use disorder while taking prescription opioids are 40 times more likely to develop heroin addiction than individuals without a prescription opioid use disorder.

2. For the documentary, entitled "The Opioid Effect: Inside Philadelphia's Heroin Epidemic," VICE News went into the streets of Philadelphia to interview recovering addicts. The news outlet also interviewed Patrick Trainor, a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

3. In the documentary, Mr. Trainor expressed a shift in ideology regarding the policing of drug addiction:

"I have been with DEA for 19 years now. If you had told me five years ago if I'd be sitting at a table with someone who works in a needle exchange program or a treatment professional, I would have said that's crazy," Mr. Trainor told VICE. "We deal with them all the time now in an effort hopefully to work together to come up with some solutions … I think us in law enforcement are seeing that people who are dealing with addiction are dealing [with a] complex, multifaceted issue that's not best addressed by law enforcement. Because we can't arrest our way out of it."

To watch the documentary, click here.

More articles on opioids: 
Alaska lawmakers pass bill to limit opioid pills prescribed 
Oklahoma physician charged with 5 counts of murder for 'horrifyingly excessive' opioid prescriptions 
51% of Americans prescribed opioids suffer from psychological disorders

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