Mixing Crack with Alcohol

Mixing crack with alcohol creates cocaethylene. While alcohol can intensify the length and the high you get from crack, it can also make the body shut down, inducing an unconscious state. More here on dangers and risks of this deadly drug combination.

minute read
Reviewed by: Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

ARTICLE OVERVIEW: Crack is a psychoactive stimulant. Alcohol is a depressant. Taking them together creates cocaethylene, a chemical that affects the brain for longer and is more toxic than either drug alone. Cocaethylene heightens and intensifies the euphoric effect of cocaine, but also amplifies the depressive effect of alcohol. Read more on the hazards of mixing crack with alcohol here.


A Scare Tactic?

Thinking about drinking and taking crack together?

We hope that you’ll reconsider. The hazards of mixing the illegal drug crack cocaine with alcohol are numerous. Lots of things can go wrong. This is not a scare tactic. In fact, the consequences can be so severe that drinking on crack can result in overdose and even death.

Crack alone is a highly addictive stimulant. As the the freebase form of cocaine, it causes euphoria and alertness. On the opposite side of the spectrum, alcohol is a depressant that triggers calming effects on the central nervous system. People drink while taking crack to try to consume more alcohol without feeling intoxicated. But mixing these two opposites can cause serious harm to your health. It can create a chemical reaction that is very powerful and dangerous.

Effects on the Brain

Many people who mix crack with alcohol combine cocaine and booze thinking that they will ease the negative effects that come along with crack such as such as tremors or vertigo. Some people drink to counteract the stimulating effects of cocaine. However, because alcohol can be a central nervous system stimulant, drinking on crack can actually intensify the length and the high you get from crack. In fact, this mixture can induce euphoria (a state of intense happiness and self-confidence).

How does cocaine affect the brain? It stimulates brain function and releases large amounts of dopamine into neural synapses. Cocaine use has been long been associated with damage to multiple organ systems including cardiac arrhythmia, chest pains, strokes, toxic seizures, hypertension crises, and hyperthermia. More benign effects include talkativeness, mentally alertness, and more acute senses of sight, sound, and touch.

On the flip side, however, drinking on crack can enhance the absorption and metabolism of alcohol, creating intoxication or alcohol poisoning. Increased intoxication decreases inhibition. Coordination also decreases while high self-confidence creates a dangerous environment for potential accidents. And the mixture also has the potential to cancel the effects of one other out. You cannot predict the many possible outcomes. But one thing is for sure: it’s dangerous.

Crack is cocaine process using baking soda or ammonia that is cooked to be made into a more potent, smokable form.  More on crack from The Center for Substance Abuse Research .


Many crack users also use alcohol. In fact, the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction found that more than half of cocaine addicts enrolled into rehab programs were also alcohol abusers.

Associated with nightlife and parting, these two substances are usually mixed at social events. Some of the most common effects that people reported include:

  • Euphoria
  • Impulsiveness
  • Self-confident
  • Sociability

Check out this website to watch many young people’s experiences with crack cocaine and alcohol.

Side Effects

On one hand, crack, being a stimulant, causes stimulant effects. Some of its adverse effects include:

  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Constricted blood vessels, causing
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dilated pupils
  • Heart palpitations and high blood pressure
  • Increased body temperature
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability

On the other hand, alcohol as a depressant has effects that are totally opposite of the stimulants. Some of the side effects include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Dehydration
  • Impaired judgment
  • Loss of motor coordination
  • Memory loss, even blackouts
  • Slow speech
  • Sleepiness
  • Slowed heart and breathing rate
  • Reduced blood pressure

Mixed together, this combo may bring out the worst in you, making you more impulsive with poor judgment and acting out risky behaviors. Other adverse effects of crack/alcohol mixture include:

  • Breathing problems
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Liver toxicity
  • Loss of coordination and motor function

Moreover, a group of researchers from Brown University found out mixing crack cocaine with alcohol increases the risk of suicide.


Used alone, both substances can cause damage to your health. Used together, crack and alcohol can lead to serious consequences such as overdose, and even death.

One of the big dangers of mixing the two is that, once in the body, cocaine and alcohol combine to create a third chemical: cocaethylene. Cocaethylene is produced in the liver and is the biggest reason why the effects of crack intensifies and increases the possibility of sudden death. Additionally, cocaethylene leaves the heart vulnerable to increased breathing and heart rates.

“When cocaine is used with alcohol, the liver produces cocaethylene, a powerful compound that increases the risk of sudden death beyond the risk of using cocaine alone.”

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

When alcohol doesn’t increase the stimulant effects of crack, it will instead work as a sedative. Crack and alcohol cause the central nervous system to go back and forth between frenetic activity and sedation and can cause the body to suddenly shut down. Because alcohol is a sedative, you are at risk of being unable to wake from sleeping if you mix crack and alcohol, with added risks of inducing an unconscious state.

Crack also enhances the absorption and metabolism of alcohol. This is why it takes less alcohol in the body to poison you while on crack and you will feel drunk quicker than if you were only drinking rather than mixing alcohol with crack.

A case report made by Journal of Medical Toxicology stated several risks of cocaethylene production in the body:

  • cerebral infarction,
  • intracranial hemorrhage
  • myocardial infarction
  • cardiomyopathy
  • cardiac arrhythmias.


As with other drugs, most crack overdoses involve the use of alcohol. According to the 2011 DAWN Report on National Estimates of Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits showed that in 2011, there were exact 173,799 ED visits that involved combination of crack/cocaine with alcohol. What are the main reasons for this?

  1. Firstly, the new substance that crack and alcohol produces in the body (cocaethylene) adds to the already dangerous nature of overdosing.
  2. Crack is illegal and often included additive chemicals you aren’t even aware of that could add to an unexpected lethal dose. Not knowing what you are dealing with intensifies the probability of problems.
  3. And finally, drinking when you’re high on cocaine can lead to a body system  shut down.

In sum, crack and alcohol should not be used together.


The 2015 CDC Report: Drugs Most Frequently Involved in Drug Overdose Deaths: United States, 2010–2014 shows that 1,210 people died from overdose that involved a combination of alcohol and cocaine.

Death is possible and increasingly likely when mixing crack and alcohol. Cocaethylene is a deadly substance and makes taking the two substances at the same time extremely dangerous. Your heart becomes vulnerable under the stress of all the chemicals in your body and your heart and breathing could stop. Combine the sedative of alcohol to crack and you may never wake up.

Safety Guidelines

It is never safe to drink alcohol and take crack together. When combined, the two bring out the worst effects of each drug and intensify the stimulant and depressant effects past their potential as separate substances. The risk of overdose and death is simply too high. So if you want to avoid these risks altogether, it is advisable that you just don’t drink on crack.

Signs You Need Help

Anyone who cannot quit crack or quit drinking on their own needs professional help. How do you now that you have a problem with addiction? And what can be done about it?

The first think you need to know is to admit that you have a problem. If you are not sure, check out the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). This manual created by the professional association of psychiatrists lists 11 criteria for the diagnosis of an addictive behavior. The clinical features of a drug or alcohol problem include when you…

  1. Take the drug in larger amounts or longer than intended.
  2. Want to cut down or stop using drug but fail to succeed.
  3. Spend a lot of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the use.
  4. Experience cravings and an uncontrollable need to use the drug.
  5. Fail to perform normally at work, home, or at school due to drug use.
  6. Continue to use, even when it causes problems in relationships with family, friends, and partners.
  7. Give up important social, occupational or recreational activities because of use.
  8. Use the drug again and again, despite being aware of harmful risks and side effects.
  9. Continue to use despite the risk of developing health problems or worsen physical or physiological condition.
  10. Need more drug to get the desired effect (tolerance).
  11. Experience withdrawal symptoms which can be relieved by taking higher dose (dependence).

If you meet more than 3 criteria, you should ask a help from an addiction specialist to diagnose the severity of your addiction.

Your Questions Are Welcomed!

Do you still have questions about crack, alcohol, or other substances? Please leave your questions here. We try our best to answer all questions personally, and promptly. And if we don’t know the answer to your specific question, we will refer you to someone who can help. Your experiences are also welcomed below.

Reference Sources: NIDA: Drug Abuse Cocaine
National Library of Medicine: Effects of Cocaine and Alcohol
National Institute of Drug Abuse: Cocaine Abuse and Addiction
CESAR: Crack
NCBI: Neurotoxic and cardiotoxic effects of cocaine and ethanol
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
Medical Reviewers
Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS serves as the Chief Medical Officer of the Texas Healt...

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a licensed medical professional.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I have read and agree to the conditions outlined in the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

  1. Hello I’m not a daily user of crack cocaine but binge on weekends. But this weekend I’m done my last use was Friday night at 8:30pm I got a drug test on Tuesday I have not smoked any since Friday drinking lots of water and tea just nervous about drug test man this it for me. I had been clean for 16 yrs and relapsed the last 4 months but I only smoked on weekends usually only 2 days but after this I’m going back to counseling any advice after Monday night it would be 72hrs of not using this nasty drug help

  2. bull shit i have smoked 2 grams of crack and got drunk off just two 24 ounce beers and the dope was really good cooke a gram got back 9 tenths barely used any baking soda

  3. I’ve bin using crack and herion for bout 15 years. But the other day I had a first time experience with half a strong beer and crack. It made me feel really drowsy quick and I felt weird. I fell asleep on sofa and woke up two hours later. First time ever and haven’t felt right since. Any ideas??

  4. Hello i have smoked crack maybe 10 times in my life, usially buy $20 worth and make it into about 10 hits. I usually drink alcohol with it, but im a lightweight so ill drink maybe 3 or 4 nips of vodka. I’m 22 and weigh 150….im soo scared from reading these posts, am I going to die??

  5. Hello today i drinked alchohol from someone but later my friends said there was crack in it but we don’t know it sure so the question is can you drink crack? Or is there nothing where i need to worry about i’m not But i’m not addicted oh and we smoked after that a joint with weed cuz we didin’t know sure if it was crack but if it was to destroy it so can you do crack in alchohol or not and if you can and if it was crack what can happen?

  6. If you drink alcahole when smokeing crack,does the alcahole make the crack stay in your system longer.for example if you have a urine test .would it stay longer in your system because your drank neer or wine with it?

  7. When taking coke qnd drinking do u remember what u say or do u talk rubbish or whould u tell people stuff that u wouldnt aay sober i dont understand it my bf was drinking and pn coke telling me all this stuff then in the morning said he dont remember

  8. After smoking crack almost regularly for weeks & weeks (& having some – alcohol- not alot)…I have to have a urine test in 17 days. At a pain Dr’s office. I have horrible endometriosis & have a pain pump w/ fentynal. (A small amount) Will drinking alot of water (even tho I drank & still sometimes drink because it helps the break thru pain. (Because of National Opioid OD.s) The Dr won’t give Percocet for break thu pain. (i also use lidocaine on my lip daily). I don’t want to get a a flush your system device(as I want the pain pump stuff to show). Is17 days enough with alot of water?

  9. It depends on the person i been a heavy user of heroin and crack for years up in till 97 days ago…
    I would use around 3 g..s of crack a week and 5 g.s of heroin ..i stop heroin then used crack with 151 rum an beer ..i never had a problem with drinking on cocain that i didnt have when i only dod cocain..i had alot of issues mixing heroin cocain an crack..

  10. When my sister drinks and smokes crack she threatens to kill me and leaves me terrible messages. She has been in so many accidents they took her license away for 10 years. She is 64. Do you think i need to worry about her trying to kill me? She has said she would shoot me then herself and also run me over. Thank you Laurie

  11. Wow… I’m now going to a,meeting with him but in my mind he still is a crack head he smokes dope and sleeps in his car don’t wash don’t change his clothes just dirty and all this street life he could come home to his 2800sqft home why???
    Now he’s telling me he has changed in know a addict will say anything my guards are up because I don’t know when he will run back in the streets… I took him back in because he didn’t have no one to turn too but do I have the time for this??? Lapsed that program said 90% crack uses USE AGAIN PERIOD. So this means they stay clean for awhile then go back huh???

  12. A couple days ago I was chilling with my boys and one of my boys drank a whole bottle of alcohol and was smoking crack about 30 minutes after he was gone and couldn’t even walk he was on the ground for more than half the night and doesn’t remember anything from that night he fell asleep on the kitchen floor and didn’t wake up for a long ass time ???

  13. HOW Long will one little hit of Crack stay in my body I got to go to probation and it’s only been18HRs seen I smoke a tiny piece will I be OK


  15. Hi Kasey. Yes, cocaine is definitely associated with group use and feelings of overconfidence can propel users to sexually active lifestyles.

    I learned alot about cocaine recently from a National Geographic documentary called: Drugs, Inc. Check out the cocaine episode, as it explains how and why people can literally become “crazy” after even the first use. It’s super addictive!

  16. I thought either this man has another woman or on drugs he’ll start by not coming home turned phone off I’m like what happened I asked his family thry say he has an alcoholic problem I’ll go out drive around til i find him he’ll always be in a car with a dirty white chic and black male there high but he says he was only drinking i ask them is he high they say i cant tell you that omg i get so pissed but i ask his family they te me no he aint on drugs its alcohol bull shit alchol dobt make u stay out 6 days spend all your money i knew then his family was fake and bullshitting me like why not do an intervention for him? You always talking about the devil stop blaming him and giving him credit it’s the person the person has to want the change. Well I got smart I purchased a drug test he took it came back positive for cocain ohhhhhh his family still saying alcohol. Well I had to let them have it see im tried now! Now it’s like he does this 7-14 day out on the street in the bad parts of town getting high crazy scene he goes rite back to same place all the time it’s like he love being out there called a crack head not washing not eating I finally said that’s it!!!!! this is awful the sad thing for me was everyone knew he was a crack addict but didn’t tell me warn me. Even the pastor knew this everyone in this church his childhood church see I’m not from this state I just moved here had a house fire my neighbor we were past tense going to the same church she introduced me to her brother to stay with him whole I find a place for me and my 2 boys now she knows I’m widowed and still placed me with her drug addiction brother they all knew this I pray pray for them because this wasn’t rite. I love myself to much to go thru this I’ve asked him are you sexually active out there in the street he says no but I can’t believe him you know. He’s even stole from my kids plus on top it just keeps going thru my mind sex with ppl to smoke with him I don’t know I don’t habe this type of behavior in my family… I’m sorta afraid for my health. I really wanted to try and help him he don’t want it why does this happen to people? Why don’t there family tell the truth? Does being high on cocain make u want to perform in sex??? ? Do people get high together and have sexual activities while there high?.

  17. I used some crack on Thursday and Friday night I also was drinking and didn’t eat anything, I was clean for almost a,year before my relapse, I’m 54 170lbs, i have to take a urine test on Tuesday tis week,from what I have read online it says ut should be out of my system in 3 days, what’s your thoughts

  18. I just a question.im not the using or drinking,but someone very close to me occasionally goes out and does a line or 2 and drinks beer and smokes cigs.this person also has copd,high blood pressure,asthma,type 2 diabetes.so my question is how long does all of the crack,beer,and smoking cigs stay in the system?

  19. I suffer from anxiety, but when I have used crack, it always has been accompanied with alcohol. Reason being is a fear the thought of having a panic attack if I do not. Never have had an issue with it while using it, but perhaps it could be because I only used a small amount(like two hits).

  20. My spouse has been mixing crack with weed and bear and has done over the last 5 years…he is very healthy drinks lot
    Of water and does not have any of the effects u say

    1. Hi Wendell. My advise would be to ask for help. You know what the problem is and you should not be afraid to work on fixing it. Your family and friends can support you and encourage you through recovery.

  21. I tried crack for the very first time last night, it was all good and then I started drinking. I can’t get to sleep and I keep getting dizzy and nauseous and keep vomiting. What can I do to help myself right now? Thanks

  22. My fiancee just smoked crack took an ambient or two and drank around 5 keystone ices. He passed out on the floor and is still breathing. What should I do?

    1. HI Samantha. If you can carry him, then get him into your car and drive to the hospital or Call 911 to seek emergency help to come to the house.

  23. Hi ive been clean now for four and a haulf months, im 36 years old and was drinkig alcohol from age 13 on and off, the started smoking crack from the age 21, i then went flat out on the two together, (alcohol and crack for many years on and off the longest ive stayed clean was 18 months that was about 6 years ago. how long will my body recover from this please, im really worried ive damage my health. it frightened me reading this page, but a massive wake up call. i do not want to go back on it? Thank you so much for taken time to read this, please help?

  24. i never get a come down allways feel in control , but i never get much of a buzz i know its not good for me and i would love to stop any help there?

  25. maybe i have been lucky i have been taking crack and alcoholtogether for more than 10 years most days , am i just lucky can u answer

  26. Hi my boyfriend smokes crack and he always has to have a beer with his crack so the beer makes the effect worse doesn’t the beer make him higher idk he never smoked without it and when he smokes he’s so quiet that he won’t talk is this normal

  27. Hello Bob. Alcohol can act like as a dis-inhibitor to thoughts and actions, thus triggering craving. Additionally, if you have established a pattern of alcohol-crack use…you brain may be anticipating crack as a “reward”. I’d suggest that you speak with an addictions counselor/psychologist about the cycle and/or to look for an MD who specializes in addiction so that you can learn about the neurobiological processes of concurrent drug use. More reading here:


  28. Hi Bob. I’ve encountered many people telling the same story as you. Seems like crack and alcohol go hand in hand. Sometimes being intoxicated triggers the urge to smoke, or you’ll feel like you are already enjoying yourself and feeling go and think “whatever”. You are not the single one experiencing it, in fact, most people find alcohol as a trigger for coke use (some even find the smell of dental floss to be a trigger).

  29. I never consider smoking crack when I am sober. However, when I drink I crave it. Why is that? Also, I can drink without crack, but sooner or later when drinking I will smoke crack. It is just a matter of time. Once again I would never consider smoking crack if I was not drinking.

  30. Hello Elaine. You are in a tuff situation, but most importantly, you have your son and yourself to take care of. Tell your husband that he needs to be truly commited to leaving his addiction, that you’ll be there to support him, but set boundaries. Have you tried family counseling? Does he go to any kind of therapy meetings?

  31. My children’s father has addictions to alcohol and crack cocaine. He is currently on probation for DUI and is drug tested once a month. But crack doesn’t stay in his system long enough for the test to catch the use. He does keep a job but binges and often can’t pay the bills. My son has had to ask him to stop smoking it in the house and leave and he refuses to go claiming he will quit but will binge again within weeks. I’ve been to alanon meetings to try to help with my anger and control issues. What can I do to get him to quit or leave.. I’m running out of options

  32. Hello Kim. It’s possible that environmental use be detected in your sister’s system. The most accurate (but expensive) way to determine if she’s been using crack over time is to request a hair analysis, which will show amounts of cocaine in her system. A Medical Review Officer at a laboratory can help you understand the results of such a test and determine if, indeed, she’s been using cocaine and consuming it or if environmental factors contribute to the results. Combined with a blood or urine test, you can get a better picture of what’s going on.

  33. Hi, I Have a few ?s please. My sister is in terrible shape. She has drank alcohol for years. She lives with her boyfriend, who uses crack and alcohol every day. My sister has been hospitalized several times for numerous things. On 3-4 of these occasions, she has tested positive for cocaine. She swears she has tried it in the past, hates it, and she is absorbing it somehow through her boyfriend’s use because he uses the dishes & does it around her. I would like to know if she can absorb it into her system by his using it around her, using microwave, dishes, etc. I really need to know what to believe. Thank You!

  34. In my experience many duel addictive individuals (crack and alcohol) dominate addiction is alcohol and they use crack to stay awake or coherent to allow them to continue to drink.

  35. Dear June,

    This description certainly sounds like an addict.

    You can get in touch with Al-Anon for support for yourself and you can call 1-800-662-HELP for information about drug addiction treatment and local resources in your area. Otherwise, I think it a good and wise decision to stay away from an addict who has not been treated for addiction…and is still using!

  36. I am seperated from the addicted person. He helps and has a good manner but he gets revengefull on the other side. Many incident i experienced in dangers. I thought about call fbi about this matter. But i am scared. Also i visualise when he is kind heart. He covers his addiction and keeps a job and support himself. He wants to get in my life again but i strongly said “no” . I have to be strong but i feel sorry for him and want to help him but he denies and lies well always.

  37. Hi Andrea. Yes, it’s possible that the stimulant effects of cocaine can seem to offset the depressant effects of alcohol. However, this is just a mask for intoxication…and a person on cocaine can certainly be affected by alcohol and even end up drinking too much.

    Crack smoke smells like burning plastic, rubber or styrofoam. Crack can smell a little sweet, but the odor is very chemically.

  38. Hello Chris. The half life of crack is really short – about 15 minutes, or so. That means that your body processes and metabolizes HALF of the cocaine in 15 minutes. And it’s usually not detectable for about 8 hours after use. While we don’t condone heavy drinking either, you should be OK if you wait for 24 hours between use of crack and use of alcohol.

  39. How long after you use crack can you have a few drinks? I have decided that I am not using anymore. The last time I used was 1 day ago. I am done with the constant cravings and wasted money. But since I did use not long ago I want to make sure it’s safe when I do have a few drinks. Thanks in advance.

I am ready to call
i Who Answers?