Drug use alone can cause health problems, but a user who mixes drugs with alcohol may face even greater dangers.
The trend of mixing alcohol with drugs is widespread, partly because many people do not consider alcohol to be dangerous. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the number of people between ages 18 and 24 hospitalized for combined alcohol and drug overdoses increased by 76% between 1999 and 2008.
The combination of alcohol and drugs increases the risks of severe dependency. Alcohol may also compound the side effects of drugs in the body, and may even cause poisoning or death.
Here are the things you need to know about alcohol in conjunction with certain other drugs:
Alcohol and Marijuana
This combination can cause nausea and/or vomiting, paranoia, and anxiety. It’s believed that alcohol in the bloodstream causes the body to absorb more tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana. Alcohol mixed with marijuana can also negatively impact to a person’s capability to concentrate on important tasks, such as driving.
Alcohol and Cocaine
Cocaine and alcohol consumed together puts a person at a higher risk of heart failure. Cocaine and alcohol can combine to form a substance called cocaethylene, which can seriously impact heart function and cause heart attacks or sudden death. Alcohol can also augment the physical effects of cocaine, resulting in more drastic symptoms and side effects.
Alcohol and Ecstasy
Dehydration and severe hangovers are just some of the major effects that occur when alcohol and ecstasy are combined. Drinking alcohol and using ecstasy simultaneously can lower inhibitions and increase the probability of reckless behavior, like unprotected sex.
Alcohol and Amphetamines
The stimulating effects of amphetamines can cause a person to drink more than what they realize. Moreover, alcohol is a depressant and amphetamines are stimulants, so they can cause a clash of effects inside the body. This can create confusion as to how high or intoxicated a person is, which may lead to overdose
Alcohol and Heroin
Using heroin along with alcohol can impede concentration. Since both drugs are depressants, the combination can also lower respiratory and heart rates to dangerously low levels. Brain damage, cardiac arrest, respiratory arrest, loss of consciousness, and coma.