The Dangers Of Combining Drugs and Alcohol

July 30, 2015 Health

It’s not uncommon for people to go out and drink — sometimes even combining alcohol with drugs. To add to their buzz, people may mix alcohol with street drugs and with prescription medications. Those who are already undergoing treatment through mental health rehabilitation may mix their medications with liquor, which can make matters even worse. While, at the time, a person may not think anything is wrong with having a glass or two of wine with his or her meal right after taking medication for pain, it can cause lethal consequences.

The Dangers Of Combining Drugs and AlcoholFirst and foremost, a person is increasing the potential for addiction when combining substances. This makes drug addiction treatment or alcohol addiction treatment even more difficult. People should always consult their physician prior to drinking with medication. Sometimes, a few drinks are fine while more than a few are dangerous.

Street Drugs

Cocaine is a stimulant while alcohol is a depressant. Combining two completely opposite substances will not positively affect the body. The alcohol may calm the person by reducing the anxiety and hyperactivity caused by cocaine. It may also have no effect, which means the person may drink a great deal of alcohol without being aware of how much alcohol he or she is consuming. It can be very dangerous since both alcohol and cocaine raise blood pressure, elevating a person’s chances of having a stroke or a heart attack.  You should look into going to cocaine rehab if you find this is a problem.

When hallucinogens like LSD, peyote, mushrooms and ecstasy are combined with alcohol, the effects can be very unpredictable. In some cases, a person may vomit, the “trip” may turn bad, or the alcohol may alter motor skills.

Opiates like heroin and prescription pain medications like oxycodone should never be used along with alcohol. They will lower a person’s heart rate and blood pressure. The alcohol enhances the sedative effect of the opiate and vice versa. In some cases, this may lead to death due to overdose. Alcohol also enhances the effects of marijuana.

Prescription Medications

The alcohol may decrease the benefit of antidepressants. Any side effects that occur from the drug may worsen when taken with alcohol. When these two substances are mixed, it may cause an increase in sleepiness. This can be dangerous if a person is at work, operating heavy machinery or driving. When an MAOI antidepressant is used in combination with alcohol, a dangerous spike in the person’s blood pressure could occur and lead to stroke. Sedatives and tranquilizers should definitely not be used in conjunction with alcohol. A person’s pulse, breathing and blood pressure may lower to dangerous levels. This decrease in pulmonary and cardiac functions can be fatal.

Other medications and drugs may interact with alcohol as well. This is especially the case with drugs that are a combination of more than one ingredient. It’s best to read the label and consult with a pharmacist or physician prior to drinking with any medication.