Thursday April 24th 2014

Mixing cocaine with alcohol

Cocaine is a highly additive stimulant drug. Is cocaine addictive the first time you take it?  You bet.  On the other hand, alcohol is a sedative. Mixing the two can be very dangerous. To find out more, read on and feel free to leave your questions or comments below. We try to answer all legitimate questions with a personal and prompt response.

Cocaine and alcohol effects

How does cocaine work in the brain?  Use of cocaine causes the release a high amount of a neurotransmitter called “dopamine,” which is involved in the brain’s reward circuit and associated with pleasure. This allows cocaine to create a feeling of euphoria. Mixing alcohol with cocaine can lengthen and intensify this sense of euphoria. Some people also report that alcohol can help with negative side effects when the high from cocaine wears off.

However, many negative side effects can come about when a person uses cocaine and alcohol concurrently. Additionally, cocaine snorting effects increase the intensity and danger of the drug.  And there is data that suggests that when these two substances are mixed, users could become more display more violent behavior and harbor more violent thoughts than they would otherwise. What are some other dangers of mixing cocaine with alcohol?

Dangers of mixing cocaine and alcohol

Cocaine and alcohol together present the potential for a very dangerous drug interaction. These two substances can combine in the body to create a new substance called “cocaethylene.” Cocaethylene has a much longer half-life than cocaine alone, and can stay in the body up to five times longer. Cocaethylene can damage the liver, compromise healthy immune system functions, cause seizures, and greatly increases the risk of death.

Further, a real danger of mixing cocaine and alcohol is masked intoxication. Cocaine can superficially counteract some negative effects of alcohol intoxication. Cocaine decreases feelings of drunkenness, which can improve some of the effects of alcohol impairment. This could encourage someone to drive while under the influence, which can be dangerous to the self and other people. While alcohol is a sedative, the stimulant effects of cocaine can increase the user’s heart rate, which could potentially be dangerous.

Cocaine and alcohol overdose

Since cocaine lessens some of the feelings of inebriation that alcohol creates on its own, using the two drugs together can increase the potential for alcohol poisoning. By itself, cocaine can negatively affect the cardiovascular system; many cocaine deaths come from cardiac arrest. In the case of alcohol and cocaine together, there is an added risk of death from the metabolic processes sparked by this drug interaction.

Cocaine and alcohol deaths

Drinking alcohol while using cocaine can cause the liver to create cocaethylene. Cocaethylene can increase the risk of immediate death up to twenty-five times that of cocaine.

Is it safe to drink on cocaine?

No, it is not safe to use cocaine and alcohol together. Combining coke and alcohol greatly increases adverse effects of both and creates a chemical known as cocaethylene that massively increases the possibility of immediate death. The combination of these two drugs should be avoided completely to avoid these risky effects.

Mixing cocaine alcohol questions

Still thinking about cocaine and alcohol? We invite you to share any questions you may have about interactions between alcohol and cocaine in the comments section below. We will work to answer them ASAP.

Reference Sources: NIDA: DrugFacts: Cocaine
PubMed: Cocaethylene toxicity
PubMed: Effects of concurrent use of alcohol and cocaine.

Photo credit: NIDA

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