How heroin changes our brains and more things to know about the drug

Here are 3 things to know about heroin and opioid addiction, from Dr. Quinton Moss, head of Modern Psychiatry & Wellness and the Genesis Center of Excellence detoxification center in Hamilton:

1. It strikes all demographics

Heroin addiction is found in all demographics and socioeconomic groups, from homeless people to some of the area’s most esteemed communities.

“There is no socioeconomic strata that it has not affected,” Moss said.

2. It often is mixed with other psychological issues

“Treatment doesn’t stop with detox,” he said. “It continues,” with such other therapies as group or individual counseling, and help for other underlying psychological needs.

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3. A disease that “hijacks” parts of the brain

It is — despite the feelings of many critics of heroin addicts — a disease, and one that “hijacks” parts of the brain.

“The reward areas are strongly impacted and affected,” interfering with executive functioning and other controls of everyday life. It’s not easily fixed, and is subject to relapses, he said.

“Much like a chronic disease, there’s relapse and periods of remission,” he said. “This is a chronic disease over time.”

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