A new video distributed by the district attorney's office describes the dangers of misusing prescription drugs, as well as the newest craze -- synthetic drugs, more commonly known as "bath salts."
The video, "Deceptive Danger," shows that prescription medication and synthetic drugs may falsely appear "safe" because they come from a pharmacy or can sometimes be bought in a convenience store.
Robert J. Carter, district attorney for the 17th Judicial District, which covers Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall and Moore counties, introduces the 15-minute DVD that explains while certain drugs are used to help to ease pain, those who abuse them need the pills "just to function."
A representative of Carter's office said that the video and other materials will be made available to middle and high schools, in a partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education, starting around the first of the year.
The video features victims and their families, who speak about how the abuse of the drugs has either destroyed their lives or those of their loved ones.
One of the persons featured was a former Cleveland, Tenn., police officer, who was given a legal prescription for a painkiller but soon became addicted and, to support his habit, broke the laws he was sworn to uphold.
The average age of those becoming addicted is also becoming younger, with many other those hooked starting when they were in their early teens.
Youths typically become hooked on prescription drugs at get-togethers while their parents are not home, and the drug cabinet eventually gets raided, officials say.
But many who become addicted are introduced to the drug by doctors for legitimate medical reasons. But as time passes, the person finds that they no longer need the medicine to manage their pain, but "just to function."
Another story is of a woman hooked on painkillers who lost her son to the same addiction, but couldn't help because she was serving time for her drug offenses.
The video also features law enforcement's focus on fraudulent prescriptions, the operators of pain management clinics or "pill mills," and those dealing prescription medications illegally.
Last month, six people were accused in Bedford County of an alleged drug conspiracy involving forged prescriptions being passed at area pharmacies. One of the suspects worked in a doctor's office and allegedly forged prescriptions and sold them.
Another danger are synthetic drugs once found in a few convenience stores, which go by a variety of names such as "bath salts," "plant food" or "incense." The drugs were made illegal in Tennessee earlier this year.
The video featured Freddie Sharp of Bristol, Tenn., who is shown in raw video from his arrest. The video shows how the bath salts impacted his mind and body, with Sharp behaving like a crazed mental patient who hospital personnel had to keep restrained.
For more information about the Deceptive Danger video and other materials, visit www.tndagc.org.