From the November 1972 magazine.

About Alcoholism - Alcoholism Information, Research and Treatment

Cross-Addictions

Dr. Robert Dupont, director of the D.C. Narcotics Treatment Administration. maintains that the District's 20,000 heroin addicts typically use alcohol at ages 13, 14, and 15 before turning to other drugs. "Many heroin addicts have alcoholic parents," explains Joe Savoy of the Model Cities Addiction Program. "They don't want to be like them and they do want to buck the system. So, partially because it is illegal, these kids start shooting. When they try to break their habit, many switch to booze and invariably start drinking alcoholically from their first drink--to get a buzz."

Heroin addicts who switch to alcohol are compounding their problems. While withdrawal from heroin is painful, it doesn't kill as do convulsions and dt's. Alcohol and the barbiturates have a deteriorative effect on the nervous system and can cause irreversible brain damage--heroin does not. In addition, heroin does not act as a metabolic poison, as alcohol does.

-- Andrea Cohen

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