Can alcohol be used as pain medication?

I just watched Patrick Madrid on EWTN discussing drunkenness in a “Where Is That In the Bible?” segment. Which reminded me of a past experience.

I once had to undergo a short procedure in a doctor’s office which he informed me ahead of time would be painful. Since he offered no pain medication, I sat in the parking lot before I went in and drank a beer, which worked very well. I don’t know if I was drunk, but I was quite tipsy and affected enough by the beer that it worked like pain medication. I didn’t think it was a sin at the time, but now I wonder whether in such a circumstance grave matter is involved. Is it?

While I cannot recommend your chosen course of action – alcohol in your system could have affected the procedure or the medications the doctor used in conjunction with the procedure, especially if he did not know beforehand that you had ingested alcohol – no, becoming tipsy as a result of alcohol taken for anesthetic purposes would not constitute grave matter. For the future, I can only recommend asking your doctor for pain medication at the time he is discussing the proposed procedure with you. Whether or not a doctor offers pain medication, you certainly have a right to request it.

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