DETROIT (WWJ) – Fans are reeling over the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman after he died Sunday of an apparent heroin overdose. 

Although he’d been sober for 23 years, the Oscar winner was very candid about a recent relapse that included developing a heroin problem, and ending up in rehab.

Scott Masi, an addiction specialist with Brighton Center for Recovery, says high-profile cases like Hoffman’s highlight the struggle more than 20 million Americans live with everyday.

“I don’t want to use the word ‘recovery’, I want to use the words ‘remission’, because that might get this some understanding as to it being a chronic disease,” Masi said. “Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain.”

Masi estimates fewer than 10 percent of people who need substance abuse help actually get it, because of issues like stigma and lack of funding.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, contact the Detroit-Wayne Mental Health Authority – 24 hour crisis hotline 800-241-4949 or at this link.  You can get in touch with the Brighton Center for Recovery at 877-976-2371, or at this link.

MORE: Amid Heroin ‘Epidemic,’ Monroe County Expected To Create Action Plan

Heroin: ‘An Epidemic’ In The Wealthiest Suburbs


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