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Addiction and Substance Abuse

Heroin and alchohol

07/14/2003

Question:

My son was addicted to Heroin for 3 yrs. Injecting 25 bags per day. I sent him away for 8 months and he has not used since. Next month will be 1 yr. clean (from Heroin). He has been drinking alot socially. He is 24 yrs old. He took a pill last month that knocked him out and said he would never do that again. What do you think of the drinking. Thank you

Answer:

Hello,

I am glad your son quit using heroin; however, recovery from addiction requires not using any substance with mood-altering or addictive properties. This includes, of course, alcohol, pain pills,and all other drugs of abuse. These substances all work in the brain in the part having to do with pleasure. As a mater of fact, alcohol acts on the opiate receptors where heroin works leading to what is called cross addiction. Meaning if you are addicted to opiates, you will have addiction to alcohol as well. This principle is taught in all drug treatment centers that I am aware of, and I am sure he was taught this. However, many patients minimize the effects of other substances that they used less than their drug of choice. What he is doing is dangerous and he is not sober. Also, abusing alcohol lowers his inhibitions and makes it much more likely that he will pick up heroin again.

I would suggest that you contact the treatment center he went to for further direction.

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Response by:

Edna M Jones, MD, MRO Edna M Jones, MD, MRO
Former Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University