Tag Archives: Complete Hippocampal Ischemic Amnestic Syndrome

Warning: New Opioid Related Memory Loss Syndrome

Public health officials in Massachusetts recognize a new opioid related "reportable disease" called CHIAS (complete hippocampal ischemic amnestic syndrome). The CDC published a paper on 14 cases of memory loss from damage to the hippocampus. There are lots of theories on the relationship between opioids and the damaged brain. Listen in to this recovery support group as they discuss this topic. 

Discussion Guide:

Have you, as someone who has abused opiates, experienced any mysterious illnesses? 

Have you had experienced episodes of amnesia? 

What is your theory of why someone would develop this disease?

1. Opiates contaminated with a toxin?

2. Genetic predisposition that makes them sensitive to something in the drug?

3. Repeated use of fentanyl which causes respiratory depression, which could weaken the hippocampal neurons over time?

4. Loss of oxygen from overdose, which could damage the hippocampal cells, leaving the rest of the brain unscathed. 

5. The consequence of exposing the brain to opioids, again and again?

Supplemental Reading:

Azeen Ghorayshi, The Fourteen Who Forgot, https://www.buzzfeed.com/azeenghorayshi/the-addicts-who-forgot?utm_term=.ygEE4Mbny#.lgQKo0G6N