Astros player admission brings light to 'cross addiction' - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Astros player admission brings light to 'cross addiction'

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Astros infielder Jon Singleton can't deny he likes marijuana. He can't and he won't. He's tested positive for it several times, underwent rehabilitation and he was even suspended for a while. He's said he was addicted to it. Now, he's saying he's abusing alcohol as a substitute. Really?

"Very common. In fact, the term is cross addiction," says addiction specialist Dr. Mike Leath with Memorial Hermann Prevention & Recovery Center. He says if a drug becomes unavailable in this case because someone is being tested for it, an addict can and will switch to another substance. It's more about the pleasure center in an addict's brain that controls addiction than the actual substance.

"It's become accustomed to being stimulated and it doesn't easily accept that the drug is not available so we'll have to live without it. It wants to live with that sensation. It wants to live with that sensation of at least feeling normal."

He says this cross-addiction phenomenon is playing out large scale in the Houston area right now.

Pill mills, law enforcement has cracked down hard on them. They're often billed as "pain management centers." They are places where one can easily score medications like Vicodin, Oxycontin and hydrocodone. They're a highly class of drugs called opiates. They are the drug of choice for everyone from rock stars to soccer moms. Closing them down opens up a new problem.

"The problem is you still have a demand and you still have those people who've grown dependent on pain pills and when the pain pills aren't available they will seek out whatever is available opiate wise."

That means heroin. Right now it's cheaper and easier to get than pills and Dr. Leath says they are seeing more and more addicts showing up at their door. He says is this case. The cure is probably worse than the original disease.

"And when things go wrong with heroin they go very wrong."

He says at least with pharmaceuticals you know what you are getting. He says with street drugs you don't, and that can lead to more accidental overdoses, and death.

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