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David wrote:

Hi, guys —

My friend has a serious illness and has become drug-dependent. I'm afraid she will not go to Heaven because of her dependency on these drugs.

  • Is this true?

David

  { Should I be concerned that my drug-dependent friend will not go to Heaven? }

Paul replied:

Dear David,

That would in part depend on her attitude toward the addiction. If she welcomes the dependence rather than rejects it, and freely continues her habit knowing that it is seriously wrong, you would have the ingredients for mortal sin which cuts off one's relationship with God.

However, many people reject their unhealthy dependencies but do not have the strength currently to overcome them. People who acknowledge their need for God's help and persevere in their cooperation with Him and His grace in the sacraments of Confession and Communion, even if there are many falls along the way, they are on their way to recovery, as well as salvation.

Peace,

Paul

Mary Ann replied:

David —

If the drug that your friend takes is necessary for her illness, then she is not addicted, only dependent on something she needs. We are dependent on food, water, air, and often medicine.
If, to treat pain, she has become addicted to a narcotic painkiller, then her physician can help her find another medicine and other ways to control pain. Her fear of damnation is most likely an expression of her discouragement with pain and with dependency. She needs:

  • emotional and medical support
  • good pain management, and
  • encouragement that things can be better, with good medical help.

If she is not truly in serious pain, then the "pain" she feels, upon withdrawal from a painkiller,
is just that, the pain of withdrawal, and her recovery will require some sort of rehabilitation program.

The important thing is to realize that there is no shame in dependency on painkillers. It is a physical response. She must not blame herself, but must now come to a decision to reclaim herself.

God bless her, and you for helping her.

Mary Ann

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