Former Gang Member Gets Tattoo Symbolizing Drugs Removed

Bryan SmithFor Bryan Smith, removing a tattoo means leaving behind a memory that’s haunted him for the past 15 years. It’s a long overdue goodbye to a time in his life that is still very painful.

Bryan has multiple tattoos (many that he’s keeping) but the particular tattoo that he’s removing, is of a dragon. While to the average person, it may simply be a mythological reptile, there is a meaning behind it for Bryan and others familiar with what it symbolizes. For them, it represents “chasing the dragon”, which is a Cantonese slang term for inhaling narcotics.


Chasing the Dragon Tattoo RemovalGrowing up, Bryan ran away from home at 15 and joined a street gang where he became entrenched in crime and drugs. During this time, he developed an addiction to crystal meth and eventually landed himself in jail, the darkest moment of his then young life.

Years later, he began making positive changes to his behavior and lifestyle, determined to stay on the right side of the law, largely out of fear of being incarcerated again. Eventually he cleaned himself up and has not used drugs since 2007.

Now a mixologist at some of Hollywood’s trendiest bars and restaurants and the butler of a high-profile family, he has plans to open his own hotspot in the near future.

When Brian came into our Sherman Oaks tattoo removal clinic, he was almost giddy with excitement over the process of getting his tattoo removed. Acutely aware of what led him here and determined to learn from his past, he refused to numb because as he explained, “the pain reminds me of the mistakes I made.”

Chest tattoo removal

With a sunny disposition and a calming demeanor, you would never know that Bryan was ever in a gang or that he had a drug problem. He’s a great reminder that people can change and we all deserve the opportunity for a second chance. Check out Bryan’s first tattoo removal treatment in the video below. It will take approximately 12 treatments to fully remove Bryan’s tattoo.