Getting drunk for medical reasons?

I’m pretty sure it is never justified to get drunk or use hardcore drugs, but I read this article by Taylor Marshall, and I quote

If you’re going to pull a bullet from my arm and we have no painkillers, I’m getting drunk. And that’s okay. Same goes for the medicinal use of cocaine, opium, codeine, and marijuana.

Here is the article taylormarshall.com/2013/08/is-marijuana-smoking-sinful-for-christians-a-thomistic-analysis.html

The drugs are used for medical reasons, and people used to get drunk as it was the only anesthesia available. It’s a different thing from getting drunk to anesthesize one’s feelings.

It certainly is better than the mallet to the head!

:):slight_smile:

Another possibility is to counteract methanol poisoning, the antidote is grain alcohol.

ICXC NIKA

It’s all about the intent behind it. If you need something to numb physical pain for a medical procedure and that’s all you have then it’s a tool like any other painkiller. It isn’t being used recreationally in that instance.

That’s an interesting question. How about civil service? My brother in law is a police officer, and is involved with the training of new officers on how to identify if someone is under the influence. There is one important test, and the subject must be drunk in order to train the officers. He’s invited me a few times to come and be a subject but it hasn’t worked out (not because I had any objections).

I would have to agree. And this has long been done. My uncle pulled his own tooth once, as they did not have enough to pay a dentist. So a small bottle of whiskey and pliers is what was used. (It was a lot cheaper than the dentist.)

There are lots of situations where one might use alcohol for a sedative, but I guess it would really be a rarity in this country. If used this way I can’t see anything wrong in terms of it being a sin. (As long as there really was little other option out there.)

Turn out this uncle just died last week. He was facing a leg amputation, but the last time they used anesthetic on him, it made him flat-line immediately. He did not live long enough for them to get to the amputation, and that may very well have been a blessing.

Intent matters, of course, there is a difference between taking morphine for pain and taking morphine to get high. (Much as there’s a difference between taking morphine for pain and taking it to commit suicide.) BUT I believe that the concept of proportionality also applies. One would not be justified in taking, say, IV morphine for a headache that could be just as easily be treated with Tylenol and stating “I took it for the pain, not to get high”. (This is assuming this is a “normal” person, not one who has a high tolerance to pain meds for some reason, and that the headache is a normal headache, not due to a brain tumor, etc.)

Children who undergo procedures or who receive IV drugs regularly often get sedatives. A sedative like midazolam probably gives an even nicer feeling than drunkenness.
I used to work at a children’s hospital and there was 7 year old girl there who got an IV arthritis med every 8 weeks or so. One time she got upset because the sedative no longer gave her the ‘buzz’ it had before, because she had grown. Her dose had maybe been a bit too high.

Where does the CCC say that getting drunk is not a sin for a medical procedure?

How would you be excused from mortal sin if you were a subject getting drunk?

Well, alcohol does “thin” the blood. In other words, blood clotting is inhibited. So, it’s not the best choice. But if nothing else is available, then it might be better than no anesthetic. The thing about pain, is that each person’s perception is unique. Some people are stoic with a high pain tolerance, others are more sensitive.

In the Catechism, there is a distinction between medicine and drugs. We call them both “drugs”, but this distinction explains the Church’s stance on them. CCC 2290 mentions excessive use of medicine is a grave sin. This implies that normal use, not excessive, is fine, or at least only venial sin. CCC 2291 says that drugs are a grave sin, but the Catechism just said only excessive use of medicine is a grave sin. In reality, there is no contradiction here. Some drugs can be medicine; some medicine can be drugs. Therefore, taking some drugs in some situations is not grave sin.

Also, the CCC is never going to have every possible situation spelled out whether it’s a sin or not. You can use your own judgment or get advice from a priest.

2290 The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine. Those incur grave guilt who, by drunkenness or a love of speed, endanger their own and others’ safety on the road, at sea, or in the air. 2291 The use of drugs [alchohol is a “drug”] inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices. They constitute direct co-operation in evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to the moral law.

Accordingly, the catechism only condemns the “abuse” of alcohol and specifically permits it for “therapeutic” reasons. Use of alcohol as a painkiller in the absence of other reasonable alternatives is permitted, and NOT A SIN.

Which reference in the catechism against getting drunk are you thinking about. I know of these only:

[quote=Catechism]2290 The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine. Those incur grave guilt who, by drunkenness or a love of speed, endanger their own and others’ safety on the road, at sea, or in the air.

2291 The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense.
[/quote]

Note also that other drugs (used at various times, if not currently), such as ether, can produce symptoms not unlike being drunk.

But getting drunk is a grave sin, is it not? The question is whether one can get drunk (which is an abuse of alcohol, and in this case an abuse of medicine) for therapeutic reasons.

Abuse of alcohol is what is wrong. Does nullifying pain with alcohol amount to an abuse of alcohol, when no better option presents?

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