Mother and Son Bonded By Heroin Talk to Dr. Phil About Their Addiction

By Kelly Burch 09/09/16

After introducing his mother to heroin, Erik told Dr. Phil that he now spends upwards of $20,000 per month to maintain their habit.

Mother and Son Bonded By Heroin Talk to Dr. Phil About Their Addiction
Photo via Dr. Phil/YouTube

The cycle of addiction passed through families can be hard to break, but on the Dr. Phil Show this week, the narrative was reversed, as an adult son discussed how he introduced heroin to his mother

The family’s story began when Kathy found out that her 32-year-old son Erik was using heroin after he moved in with her. When she confronted him, however, Erik sensed that there was more to Kathy’s reaction. 

"At first she was very angry about it," he said. "But I sensed that the anger was more curiosity.” He asked his mother, "Are you so pissed because you want to try it?”

That began a family affair with heroin. Now, Kathy asks Erik for heroin every day, their habit costing between $15,000 and $20,000 per month, Erik told Dr. Phil, saying that he gets the money by selling to others. “My mother and I have a weird, codependent, completely abnormal relationship,” Erik said

However, he added that he isn’t fully to blame for his mother’s addiction, and that she had been abusing substances long before he introduced her to heroin. “As long as I’ve known her I’ve always known she was an addict.” 

Kathy said that her addiction began when she started abusing pills that she had been prescribed. She knew that heroin was cheaper and more readily available, and when she learned that her son used, she tried the drug and liked it.

“It gets me through the day,” Kathy said. Now, Kathy snorts five to six lines of heroin a day, but minimized the extent of her habit because she does not inject the drug like her son. 

“It’s not as bad as some people say, as long as you don’t shoot up,” she said.

“You’re just snorting it, so therefore that’s a lesser evil in your eyes?” Dr. Phil asked. “In my eyes, yes,” Kathy said.  

However, she recognized that while she thinks that she has some control over her habit, people can tell that she has changed since she started abusing drugs. 

“You think that people don’t know, you think that they can’t tell, [but] they can,” she said. "I don't know how many people this past year have said that I'm kind of different. And I am kind of different." 

Erik recognized how sad the situation was. “This isn’t normal,” he said. “This is about as dysfunctional as it gets.” 

Although Erik and Kathy’s story is shocking, it may not be uncommon. Middle-aged women are using opiates at growing rates. Between 1999 and 2014, annual deaths of middle-aged women from opiate overdoses rose 400%, according to the Washington Post. Many mothers and grandmothers find themselves searching for drugs after becoming addicted. 

With Erik planning to move out, Kathy worries about where her drugs will come from. “When he goes the drugs go, and it’s a hard thing to deal with,” she said.  

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.