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Remembrance of blackouts past: Excesses coming home to roost

Posted on 01-12-2016 Posted in Addiction, alcoholism, Substance Abuse - 0 Comments

blackouts-past-excesses-home-roost ran a story on the amount of time each cigarette, drink and drug shaves off a person’s life expectancy. One cigarette reduces life expectancy by 13 minutes. A line of cocaine knocks off five hours. A shot of booze eliminates six hours of longevity. Meth, methadone and heroin: 11, 12 and 22 hours, respectively. The truly dire news is reserved for chronic addicts. According to, the latest average life expectancy is 78 years old. Here’s a look a the math.

Chronic abusers will have a dickens of a time later

Individuals who drank, drugged and smoked excessively in their youth can expect to be haunted by these indulgences should they make it past middle age. According to the DailyMail article, a person who begins smoking cigarettes at 17 and who continues to smoke a pack a day dies, on average, at age 68. His or her pack-a-day habit shaves 10 years off current mortality estimates.

Cigarettes = 13 percent of life lost.

Alcoholics fare worse. Someone who starts drinking at 16 and averages two or more drinks a day over the next 39 years typically stops drinking at 55 – because they’re dead. On average, an alcoholic loses more than 23 years of life because of booze.

Alcohol = 29 percent of life lost.

Cocaine, meth, methadone and heroin users: skip the AARP membership

Alcoholics live miserable lives – medically speaking. If they manage to avoid cirrhosis, they are prey to all manner of debilitating illnesses: pancreatic cancer, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal disorders, heart disease, diabetes, even gout. This, is due partly because despite the fact alcohol affects every system in the body and alcoholics have shorter lifespans than nonalcoholics, many alcoholics continue to go on living over the riotous objections of their bodies.

Drug addicts feel less of the chronic effects – only because they don’t live as long as alcoholics. According to the article, a person who starts using cocaine at 20 and who ingests a gram of day for the next 24 years will die at 44 – on average.

If a person starts taking meth at 19 and averages more than five hits a day, this individual can expect to be dismissed from this mortal coil at age 36 – the average age at death for meth addicts. This amounts to a life cut short by nearly 42 years.

Cocaine = 44 percent of life lost.

Meth = 53 percent of life lost.

Methadone is a maintenance drug for people who want to quit heroin. But methadone is an addictive analgesic and has serious side effects – the most serious of which is it reduces life expectancy. A person who begins taking methadone at age 22 on average loses 38 years of life. According to the DailyMail article, the average age at death for a methadone user is 40.

Methadone = 49 percent of life lost.

Heroin overdose deaths quadrupled between 2002 and 2013. In 2013, more than 8,200 people fatally overdosed on the drug. A person who picks up heroin at 23 and shoots up at least three times a day for the next 14 years can expect to expire just past his 37th birthday. According to the DailyMail piece, 37.5 is the average age at death for heroin addicts. This equates to an average of more than 41 years of life lost to drug use.

Heroin = 52 percent of life lost.

Sovereign Health of Florida specializes in treating alcohol and drug addiction. Our heroin treatment program utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy and other therapeutic modalities. For more information on our substance abuse programs, call our 24/7 helpline.

Written by Darren Fraser, Sovereign Health Group writer

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