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October 1, 2001

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Question from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA:

My best friend (with whom I have grown up) is 27 years old and has had type�1 diabetes since age 11. I am greatly concerned about him because I just found out he has been using cocaine regularly for the past two years. What effect does this have on his blood sugar and health? I want to inform him of the severity of his addiction, and any help on this would be appreciated.


The use of cocaine will surely make it more difficult for your friend to control his diabetes, and I share your concern for his safety. Over a number of years, if control is not good, nerve involvement, kidney involvement, and eye involvement from diabetes may occur. The intermittent use of cocaine will likely make the complications more severe and difficult to treat, especially since the blood pressure would be expected to be dangerously high in the small blood vessels influenced by diabetes. However, cocaine addition is difficult to treat with the need to use clouding better judgement.


[Editor’s comment: You have probably already tried to persuade your friend to quit, but it’s his decision, not yours. Please contact your local Narcotics Anonymous group (the phone number’s in the phonebook) or Al-Anon (“To help families and friends of alcoholics recover from the effects of living with the problem drinking of a relative or friend”).