It is dangerous to mix cocaine and alcohol. The alcohol and cocaine mix triggers the production of cocaethylene, a highly toxic substance. This means that this blend of commonly abused substances is considered a potentially lethal combination.
What Happens When You Mix Cocaine and Alcohol?
When cocaine and alcohol are combined, they produce more harmful effects. The combination forms a potent metabolite called cocaethylene, which is more dangerous than either substance alone. It poses increased risks to the heart and liver, among other vital organs.
Cocaethylene remains in the body much longer than cocaine, prolonging its harmful effects. Alcohol further delays the elimination of another metabolite, ethylbenzoylecgonine, enhancing the levels of cocaine and cocaethylene in the blood.
The dual use of cocaine and alcohol significantly heightens the risk of stroke. Cocaine contributes to this risk by constricting blood vessels, elevating heart rate and blood pressure, causing spontaneous brain hemorrhages, and increasing the likelihood of blood clots. Cocaethylene’s extended presence in the body amplifies the stroke risk, too.
Some research suggests that alcohol can intensify cravings for cocaine, potentially leading to increased alcohol consumption. This can make it more challenging for people to discontinue use, sometimes engaging in binge drinking to prolong the effects and stave off withdrawal.
Both cocaine and cocaethylene boost brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin and stunt their reabsorption. This escalation in stimulant effects can result in impulsive, sometimes violent behavior, panic attacks, anxiety, and depression.
The concurrent use of cocaine and alcohol is especially dangerous for heart health, increasing the toxicity to the heart and liver. The greatest immediate threat involves heart-related emergencies such as heart attacks or arrhythmias. Those with pre-existing heart conditions face even greater risks.
Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Cocaine
In addition to the dangers triggered by cocaethylene, mixing alcohol and cocaine may lead to unpredictable and potentially life-threatening consequences. One of the most severe health risks of this combination is the heightened chance of cardiotoxicity, adversely affecting the heart and circulatory system. Even using stimulants alone can impact heart health, but combining this class of drugs with alcohol can intensify these dangers, potentially triggering cardiovascular complications that may include:
- High blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Heightened demand for oxygen by the heart muscles
- Risk of heart attack
- Possibility of stroke
In addition to cardiac issues, mixing stimulants and alcohol can lead to various other hazardous effects, which may include:
- Disruptions in sleep patterns
- Impaired cognitive functions, including difficulties with memory and verbal learning
- Escalated cravings for drugs and an increase in substance use
- An elevated risk of engaging in dangerous behaviors, such as driving while intoxicated, vehicle accidents, risky activities, and involvement in physical fights
- The risk of sudden death
- Increased likelihood of overdose
These combined effects illustrate why it is never advisable to mix alcohol and cocaine. Read on to find out how you can connect with evidence-based addiction treatment near you.
Alcohol and Cocaine Toxicity
The combination of alcohol and cocaine results in a significantly increased level of toxicity in the body, presenting serious health risks. This increased toxicity mainly stems from the formation of cocaethylene, a compound created when the liver processes both substances concurrently. Here’s a closer look at alcohol and cocaine toxicity:
- The role of cocaethylene: This substance is more toxic than either alcohol or cocaine alone. Its formation amplifies the harmful effects on the body, particularly on the cardiovascular and hepatic systems.
- Cardiovascular complications: The toxicity significantly elevates the risk of heart-related issues. This includes increased heart rate, high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, and a heightened risk of heart attacks and strokes. These effects are due to the increased stress on the cardiovascular system caused by the synergistic effects of alcohol and cocaine.
- Liver damage: Both alcohol and cocaine are processed by the liver, and their combined use can lead to increased liver toxicity. This can result in liver damage or exacerbate existing liver conditions.
- Neurological issues: The toxic combination can also impact brain function. It may lead to cognitive impairments, heightened anxiety, depressive symptoms, and an increased risk of neurological events like seizures or strokes.
- Increased overdose risk: The presence of cocaethylene in the system can mask the depressant effects of alcohol, potentially leading people to consume higher amounts of both substances. This increases the risk of overdose and acute toxicity.
- Behavioral changes: The combined use of alcohol and cocaine can lead to heightened impulsivity, risk-taking behaviors, and potential for violent actions. These behavioral changes are often a direct result of the neurological impact of these substances.
- Complications during withdrawal: Regular use of both substances can lead to a heightened risk of dependence. Additionally, the withdrawal process can be more complicated and severe due to the combined effects of stimulant (cocaine) and depressant (alcohol) withdrawal symptoms.
- Long-term health damage: Chronic use of alcohol and cocaine in combination can lead to long-term health issues, including chronic cardiovascular problems, persistent liver damage, and lasting neurological deficits.
Developing an awareness of the severe toxicity of mixing alcohol and cocaine can help mitigate the risks associated with this dangerous combination.
I Mixed Alcohol and Cocaine, What Should I Do?
If you have mixed alcohol and cocaine, here’s what to do:
1) Assess your condition
Pay attention to how you’re feeling. Look for symptoms like chest pain, difficulty breathing, severe headache, confusion, or irregular heartbeat. These could be signs of a serious reaction requiring immediate medical attention.
2) Seek medical help if necessary
If you experience any severe symptoms or feel unwell, seek medical help immediately. Be honest with healthcare providers about what substances you have used, as this will help them provide the most effective treatment.
3) Stay hydrated and rest
If your symptoms are mild, try to stay hydrated by drinking water and rest in a safe environment. Avoid consuming more alcohol, cocaine, or other substances.
4) Avoid being alone
It’s advisable to have someone with you who can monitor your condition and seek help if your condition worsens.
5) Monitor for delayed reactions
Sometimes, the effects of mixing these substances can be delayed. Remain vigilant for any developing symptoms.
6) Avoid driving or operating machinery
Your judgment, motor skills, and reaction time may be impaired. Do not drive or engage in activities that require alertness.
7) Consider long-term help
If you frequently mix alcohol and cocaine, consider seeking help for substance abuse. This could involve counseling, rehabilitation programs, or support groups.
8) Educate yourself
Learn about the risks of mixing alcohol and cocaine. Understanding the dangers can be a deterrent to future use.
9) Develop a safety plan
If you continue to use these substances, create a plan to reduce harm. This might include using in a safe environment, having a sober friend present, and knowing the signs of an overdose.
10) Reflect on the experience
Consider what led to the mixing of alcohol and cocaine. Reflecting on the circumstances can help in making healthier choices in the future.
Remember, the combination of alcohol and cocaine can be unpredictable and dangerous. Taking these steps can help manage immediate risks, but addressing the underlying issues related to substance use is crucial for long-term health and safety.
Get Treatment for Cocaine and Alcohol Addiction at Ohio Recovery Centers
If you are addicted to alcohol, we can help you fight back at Ohio Recovery Centers. We also treat cocaine addiction and mental health conditions at our rehab facility in Cincinnati, Ohio, enabling you to engage with comprehensive and evidence-based therapies.
Our outpatient programs are available at varying levels of intensity. Not only is outpatient treatment more affordable than residential rehab, but it also allows you to fulfill your everyday commitments while participating in weekday therapy sessions.
We appreciate that all alcohol addictions and cocaine addictions are unique, and this is reflected in the personalized nature of treatment plans at Ohio Recovery Centers. Our passionate and committed treatment team blends MAT (medication-assisted treatment), psychotherapy, counseling, and holistic interventions for a whole-body approach to addiction recovery in Ohio.
Call 877-679-2132 today and begin your recovery from cocaine and alcohol addiction tomorrow.