PEORIA — The opioid crisis has taken root in Peoria and the rest of the nation. And while much focus has been placed on curbing the prescription of opioids as painkillers as well as trying to manage the street sales of drugs, there’s another side to the crisis that deals with the addiction aspect. Opioids are addictive drugs that, over time, can alter the brain chemistry. Dr. Kirk Moberg, executive medical director of the UnityPoint Health Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, shared his knowledge.
Q: What’s the most common misconception that people have when it comes to opioid addiction?
A: A common misconception is that opioid addiction is fundamentally different from other substance use disorders. The opioid epidemic is the tip of the iceberg of much larger underlying phenomena, the disease of addiction.
Q: Another misconception is that for some if you take one hit of heroin or if you start to use pain pills, you’re hooked. Is that the case?
A: Yes, but it’s also possible to get addicted to alcohol on the first drink. They do not constitute the majority who try that substance, but there is a sub population who does. A better way to ask that is the predisposition to the disease of addiction. There are some people who try alcohol or heroin, and they don’t become addicted to either one of them. . . We know that addiction is 60 percent genetic, so a lot of it is in our family history. It’s in the way our brain is wired right from when we are born.