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Is Alcohol Worse Than Heroin?

Is Alcohol Worse Than Heroin?

When a person thinks about alcohol, they often are reminded of a good time, some dumb jokes, and a possible hangover. Yet, when someone mentions heroin, the stigma represents a dark alley, prison, and an overdue dentist appointment. The truth is that alcohol is worse than heroin. No, seriously, it is. 


Both Heroin and Alcohol Are Bad, But Why Is Alcohol Worse?

Since alcohol is legal, unlike heroin, the drug is found to be socially acceptable. In fact, if an adult doesn’t drink, it’s shocking or not a part of the “social norm.” As far as how the two substances are advertised, heroin has a nasty reputation, even though alcohol has higher death rates. More than 140,000 people die from alcohol abuse each year in the United States alone, usually involving adults 35 years or older. That’s an outstanding 380 people who pass away each day.

In 2019, heroin overdose rates decreased by over six percent. Heroin side effects include lower than average body temperature, slowed respiration, slowed heart rate, and nausea and vomiting. Of course, there are more severe side effects. Overdose rates make the drug seem intensely more life-threatening compared to alcohol. Still, more alcohol-related deaths come from homicide, mixing other drugs, and accidental injuries each year than misusing heroin alone.


Is Alcohol as Addictive as Heroin?

Heroin is an addictive opioid and grants similar effects as morphine. In alcohol, ethanol is the primary chemical that affects the brain and increases dopamine and serotonin levels. Alcohol is worse than heroin in the cases of involuntary murder, accidental injuries, and long-term health issues or organ failure. Although alcohol can act as a stimulant, the drug is a depressant and can cause mental health issues or present symptoms to worsen. If someone is showing signs of addiction, seeking professional care and alcohol detox can be the best option to prevent life-threatening conditions.


Dangers of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol is worse than heroin, and abuse can cause serious health problems. If you are wondering what happens if you drink while on heroin, then the answer is not surprising. Mixing two depressants can cause sensory issues, emotional and psychological issues, and physical appearance can change. As for alcohol abuse, side effects from excessive drinking include:


  • Head pain
  • Slurred speech
  • Gaps in memory
  • Digestive tract issues
  • Inflammatory damage
  • Defensive behavior or aggression
  • Changes in appetite or weight loss
  • Increase in anxiety and feeling of irritably


Other negative impacts can include heart attacks, organ failures, and lack of proper brain function. If a person is mixing alcohol with heroin, then addiction to both substances can quicken the pace to achieving overdose or life-threatening health complications. Although you can be a functioning heroin addict or even a functioning alcoholic, in most cases, this does not last long.


Addiction Treatment at Our Texas Recovery Center

After answering if alcohol is worse than heroin, make sure to be aware of the signs of an addict. At Banyan Treatment Centers Texas, treating addiction is a priority. Our experienced medical staff will ensure safety throughout the medically monitored detox and therapy. Our unique programs and services help our patients to recognize their patterns and incorporate new skills to prevent relapse after treatment.


Please, contact a specialist at our Texas rehab by calling 888-280-4763 and ask about our residential treatment program to get started on the path to recovery today!



  1. CDC - Deaths from Excessive Alcohol Use in the United States


Related Readings:

Preventing Opioid Abuse

Alcoholism in Genes

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.