BetterAddictionCare

7 Risks of Mixing Alcohol and Cocaine

What are the Risks of Mixing Alcohol and Cocaine?

The total amount of overdose deaths in 2016 reached a new high, according to data by the CDC. Over 64,000 people in 2016 overdosed on drugs that led to their death. A total of 10,619 deaths were attributed to cocaine overdose. Mixing alcohol and cocaine is something that can greatly increase the overdose risk factor due to the way the two substances interact with one another.

In this article, we will explore the risks associated with mixing cocaine with alcohol, particularly when there is a cocaine and alcohol addiction.

Why is Mixing Alcohol and Cocaine Dangerous?

The reason why many people decide to abuse cocaine and alcohol together is because of how they interact with each other.

When someone abuses cocaine, it causes the reward circuits in the person’s brain to light up. Cocaine causes a high amount of dopamine to flood into the brain and the effects last because cocaine inhibits the brain’s ability to cycle the dopamine out of the system. Dopamine is linked to euphoric feelings, which is why people abuse drugs like cocaine. The effect usually last for around a half an hour with it leaving the body after about an hour – a short-lived experience.

Mixing alcohol and cocaine causes the effects of cocaine to last longer, which is why most people use both together. Mixing cocaine and alcohol together is also done because it helps to reduce the comedown of cocaine, according to some users.

Alcohol is a depressant while cocaine is a stimulant. Therefore, when mixing them together, one can hide some of the negative effects of the other. In a case where there is a cocaine and alcohol addiction, the tolerance that develops causes the person to have to use increasing amounts of both substances and their abuse continues. The higher quantities increase the risks of severe problems such as overdose.

What are the Risks of Mixing Alcohol and Cocaine?

The risks that each substance has by itself are greatly increased when mixing alcohol and cocaine. The risks involved with mixing cocaine with alcohol include the following:

  1. The main risks comes from what happens when the two substance mix creating a new chemical called cocaethylene. Unlike cocaine alone, cocaethylene’s half-life is much longer. Half-life refers to the duration that a substance remains present in the body. In the case of cocaethylene, the half-life is increase by as much as five times. The danger of a longer half-life is the risk of overdose. Most overdoses happen through a longer than expected half-life or from a lowered tolerance. The person may be used to taking more cocaine every 30 minutes but with such a long half-life, the effects of the previous use still remain and add to the toxic state of the body, leading to overdose.
  2. Cocaethylene has been linked to liver damage.
  3. Cocaethylene can also cause improper immune system response.
  4. Seizures are common when mixing the substances together.
  5. Greatly increase the risk of overdose and death by as much as 25 times.
  6. Some of the other risks involved with combining the two substances are the masking of intoxication. Since cocaine can make a person feel less intoxicated by counteracting some of the effects of intoxication, a person may feel like they are fine to drive when they are way above the legal limit.
  7. The two opposing effects of the substances can cause health issues due to the inverse effects, such as a higher heart rate coupled with the sedative properties of alcohol.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.

Sources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/cocaine

https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/alcohol