Expert discusses Demi Lovato overdose, challenges in the Bronx

Posted: Updated:
THE BRONX -

While pop singer Demi Lovato recovers from a suspected drug overdose, addiction remains a serious problem in the Bronx and across the nation.

The 25-year-old star was reportedly found unconscious Tuesday in her Hollywood home. She has been open about her battle with addiction and other issues, appearing on "Good Morning America" earlier this year to reveal she had been sober for six years. Lovato released a documentary least year in which she described her struggles with depression, drug abuse and bulimia.

Dr. Jonathan Samuels, medical director of addiction medicine at St. Barnabas Hospital, says some people are predisposed to addiction due to factors such as genetics, mental illness or the environment.

"It's a recurring relapsing illness," he says. "No one becomes cured from being an addict. You will always have that part of your brain that wants drugs."

At St. Barnabas, an addicted person could use methadone or Suboxone to mimic the effect of heroin or prescription drugs so the brain is satisfied without intoxicating the person or risking an overdose.

Therapy at the same time can help people learn to live without substance abuse.

Samuels says he hopes Lovato remains a symbol of hope for users.

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