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Mixing Alcohol & Cocaine: Side Effects And Dangers

The popularity of alcohol and cocaine among drug users may be due to the more powerful “high” than experienced with either drug alone. Despite their differences, cocaine, and alcohol both have extremely potent altering effects on your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

According to studies, up to 90% of individuals with cocaine use disorder also struggle with alcohol dependence. People may use alcohol and cocaine simultaneously, although their motivations may vary.

Cocaine and alcohol are two popular drugs that people tend to abuse. When these two substances are combined, the effects can be dangerous. This post will discuss the dangers of mixing cocaine and alcohol and provide some advice on staying safe. Keep in mind, that if you are struggling with addiction, it is important to seek professional help.

What Are The Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Cocaine?

It’s critical to understand how each drug affects the user in order to comprehend why these substances are frequently taken together. Cocaine users experience its effects almost instantly after taking it. It begins by flooding the user’s brain with dopamine, which gives them an initial boost of energy. Dopamine, a naturally occurring chemical messenger in the body, is crucial to the brain’s capacity to experience pleasure.

Alcohol is rapidly absorbed through the cell membranes in the body and brain, so once it is in the bloodstream it spreads quickly. Alcohol causes the symptoms listed above as well as pleasure and “numbness.” The stomach is where 20% of alcohol is absorbed. The small intestine is where the majority of alcohol is absorbed.

Alcohol is a depressive, whereas cocaine is what is known as a stimulant. Cocaine and alcohol can be combined by those who struggle with cocaine addiction to lessen the negative effects of the drug. Alcohol or other depressants can be used to minimize both the anxiety-inducing effects of cocaine as well as soften the “coming down” process.

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What Are The Differences Between Alcohol & Cocaine

While both alcohol and cocaine are illegal drugs, they have different effects on the body and mind. Alcohol is clear that it is a depressant, meaning it slows down the body’s systems. This can lead to slurred speech, clumsiness, and drowsiness whereas cocaine is a stimulant and speeds up the body’s systems, leading to increased heart rate (impulsive and risky behavior), alertness, and talkativeness.

Cocaine is also much more addictive than alcohol. Some people can drink alcohol occasionally without becoming addicted, but almost everyone who uses cocaine will become addicted. This is because cocaine produces a much more intense high than alcohol, and the body quickly becomes tolerant to its effects. As a result, people who use cocaine often need to take larger and larger doses to get the same effect. This can takes you to serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.

While alcohol and cocaine are dangerous drugs, they have different effects on the body and mind. Cocaine is an illegal schedule 1 substance whereas anyone over the age of 21 can buy alcohol legally. This doesn’t necessarily mean that cocaine is more dangerous than alcohol though if overconsumed. When mixing the substances, negative side effects can occur.

People who struggle with cocaine abuse may mix the drug with alcohol to reduce cocaine’s negative effects, like anxiety or twitching, by adding a depressant. In some cases, mixing cocaine and alcohol occurs because of a social situation. In some instances, a person who drinks too much may take cocaine to increase their physical energy.

Alcohol is a suppressant, which means it slows down the body. Cocaine is a stimulant, which means it speeds up the body. Mixing these two drugs can cause serious side effects.

Dangerous Short-term Side Effects Of Alcohol – Alcohol Use Disorder

Anyone who has ever, takes too much to drink knows that some unpleasant side effects come with drinking alcohol. However, many people don’t realize that alcohol can also have dangerous short-term side effects. One of the most severe dangers of drinking is alcohol poisoning. This can occur when someone drinks too much alcohol in a short time, and their body cannot process it all.

Alcohol poisoning can results you to coma and even death. Another danger of drinking is that it can impair your judgment and coordination, making it more likely that you will be involved in an accident. Drinking can also make you more likely to take risks, leading to injuries or even death. So, while a few drinks may seem harmless, it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers of alcohol before you take your first sip.

Long-term Side Effects of Alcohol

For many people, alcohol is a part of everyday life. Whether it’s a simple glass of wine with dinner or a few beers while watching the game, increased alcohol consumption is generally considered harmless. However, there are some potential long-term side effects of alcohol that everyone should be aware of.

One of the most well-known long-term side effects of alcohol is liver damage. The liver is responsible for filtering toxins from the blood, and over time, excessive alcohol consumption can takes you to scarring and inflammation of the liver. This can eventually lead to cirrhosis, a potentially fatal condition. Alcohol abuse is also connected to an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer, including cancer of the mouth, throat, and esophagus.

In addition to general physical health problems, long-term alcohol use can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Alcoholics are also at an increased risk of developing memory problems and dementia. If you drink alcohol regularly, it’s important to be aware of these potential risks and take steps to reduce your consumption.

Does The Amount Of Cocaine Affect The Interaction with Alcohol?

According to research, drinking might make people crave cocaine more. This could make quitting more difficult. To maintain its effects and prevent withdrawal, some people binge drink. According to research, alcohol interferes with the metabolism of cocaine and causes the creation of cocaethylene, which is more dangerous than cocaine.

Additionally, alcohol delays the elimination process, which prevents the liver from eliminating all of the cocaethylene and leaves around 20% of it in the liver. Cocaethylene may enter the circulation with continued alcohol use, damaging tissues and organs.

Short-term Side Effects of Cocaine

Short-term side effects of cocaine can include constricted blood vessels, dilated pupils, increased body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Cocaine can also lead to headaches and gastrointestinal issues such as abdominal pain and nausea. Short-term side effects of cocaine can also include anxiety and paranoia as well as trouble breathing from the effects cocaine has on the nose.

In some cases, cocaine can cause sudden death due to cardiac arrest or seizure. Some of the more serious & severe long-term effects of cocaine use include liver damage, kidney damage, lung damage, and stroke. Short-term side effects of cocaine typically last for a few minutes to an hour after use. However, the long-term effects can last for months or years after someone stops using cocaine. If you are starting to use cocaine it is important for you to seek rehab before it gets worse.

Long-term Side Effects of Cocaine

Long-term & severe side effects of cocaine use can include physical and mental problems. Some of the most common physical problems associated with long-term cocaine use have cardiovascular problems (e.g., heart attack, stroke), respiratory problems (e.g., difficulty breathing, chronic bronchitis), gastrointestinal problems (e.g., ulcers, intestinal blockage), and neurological problems (e.g., seizures, strokes).

Long-term mental effects of cocaine use can include paranoia, delusions, psychotic symptoms, and depression. These symptoms can also occur during cocaine detox. In addition, cocaine use can lead to dependence and addiction. People addicted to cocaine may experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit, including fatigue, depression, anxiety, and increased appetite.

Dangers Of Mixing Alcohol & Cocaine

Before getting into the dangers Of Alcohol & Cocaine users, It is important to know the effects of mixing alcohol and cocaine. Alcohol is clear that it is a depressant, and cocaine is a stimulant. The combination of the two can have dangerous consequences.

Depressants slow down the nervous system which is different from stimulants speed up the nervous system which confuses your body. The combination of alcohol and cocaine can cancel each other out or have other unexpected effects and make it so you don’t know exactly how drunk or high you are.

For example, someone who mixes alcohol and cocaine may become agitated and aggressive. This can takes you to serious health issues, such as stroke or heart attack. They may also be more likely to take risks, leading to accidents or injuries. In some cases, mixing alcohol and cocaine can lead to overdose or death. If you are mixing the two drugs going to rehab could save your life.

Are All Types Of Alcohol Harmful When Mixed with Cocaine? 

The simple chemical ethanol, which is a component of alcoholic drinks, has a number of physiological impacts on the body. The liver, gallbladder, brain, heart, and stomach are all quickly impacted. Since all types of consumable alcohol contain ethanol the production of cocaethylene is present when any type of alcohol is mixed with cocaine. This includes wine, beer, and all liquor.

How Long After Taking Cocaine Can You Drink Alcohol?

The typical duration of a cocaine high is 20 to 30 minutes, which drives users to consume more cocaine, however, the aftereffects can last for a little while longer. When you take cocaine, your body quickly begins to break it down into substances called metabolites. Metabolites remain in your blood for 2-5 days. It is not a good idea to drink alcohol until these metabolites have left the body.

What Are Other Drugs That Are Dangerous To Use With Cocaine?

The most common reason for unintentional death in the US has been drug overdoses. In actuality, more Americans pass away each year from drug overdoses than from auto accidents. Mixing cocaine with alcohol and other illegal substances greatly increases your chance of experiencing an overdose. Other substances that are extremely dangerous to mix with cocaine include:

What are the Treatment Options for Cocaine and Alcohol Abuse?

You’ve made the decision to stop consuming cocaine. But as soon as you have a drink, you start using it once more. Does this sound familiar? Cocaine abuse and addiction are significant issues that may wreak havoc on many different aspects of your life and health. You don’t have to suffer in silence.

Cocaine addiction is treatable and it is possible for you to get better. There are also many different movies about cocaine and alcohol addiction that you can watch to get a better understanding of the negative consequences it can have on your life.

Get Help For Polysubstance Abuse

Mixing alcohol and cocaine can have dangerous consequences, including overdose or death. When these two drug substances are combined, they can create a new substance that is even more toxic than either one on its own.

So if you’re going to party, be aware of the risks involved in mixing these two substances. It is important to seek or contact for a professional help if someone is struggling with alcohol addiction. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and our admissions coordinators are standing by 24/7 to help. Contact us to receive help for alcohol addiction treatment immediately.


How Does Alcohol Interact With Cocaine In Your Body?

Cocaine and alcohol are popular party drugs that can lead to a night of excess. There are many Acute and chronic effects of cocaine on cardiovascular health. But many people don't realize that when these two substances are mixed, they can have a dangerous interaction in the body. Alcohol lowers inhibitions and decreases judgment, while cocaine addiction increases energy and confidence. This can results in people to take more risks than they would usually and to believe they are invincible. The reality is that both cocaine and alcohol impair judgment, coordination, and reaction time. This can lead to accidents, risky behavior, and even overdosing. What's more, the interaction between cocaine and alcohol creates a new substance abuse in the body that is even more toxic than one on its own. So if you're going to party, be aware of the risks involved in mixing these two substances.    

Can a Mixture of Alcohol and Cocaine Lead to Death?

Cocaine and alcohol interactions may have rapid, and frequently devastating impacts on a user's physical health and heart health along with behavior. Both cocaine and alcohol's euphoric effects are momentarily amplified by cocaethylene. However, it also intensifies the harmful effects of both substances. The combination can put a great deal of stress on the heart, raising blood pressure and making breathing difficult. Additionally, it may raise the user's body temperature, which might result in heavy perspiration and ultimately dehydration. Toxic levels of cocaethylene buildup in the liver have been linked to sudden death.

How Much Cocaine Can Be Dangerous to Take with Alcohol?

No amount of this mixture is considered safe. When combined with alcohol, cocaine can help someone feel less cognitively impaired, which can help them feel less drunk. A person who consumes these chemicals together may "feel" less inebriated, yet they are still extremely intoxicated. This has caused many users to experience accidental overdose and alcohol poisoning.

Who Should Not Take Alcohol and Cocaine? 

No one should mix these two drugs, ever. As mentioned above, these two substances create a deadly toxin when mixed together. Here are some more effects of the production of cocaethylene.
  • Laboratory studies suggest that mixing the two drugs will have a cocaethylene toxicity level 30 percent higher than cocaine.
  • increased risk of cardiovascular issues: Cocaethylene increases heart rate and blood pressure even more than cocaine by itself.
  • Higher risk of stroke.
  • Longer mode of action: Cocaethylene is removed more slowly than cocaine because it has a longer half-life. As a result, it stays in the system longer and the effects might be more severe.

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Edland-Gryt, M. (2021). Cocaine Rituals in Club Culture: Intensifying and Controlling Alcohol Intoxication. Journal of Drug Issues, 51(2), 391–408.

Singh, A.K. Alcohol Interaction with Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Opioids, Nicotine, Cannabis, and γ-Hydroxybutyric Acid. Biomedicines 2019, 7, 16.

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Magnified Health Systems aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.

Picture of This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

Dr. Bickley graduated from U.C. Irvine with honors: Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key International Honor Society, Cum Laude. He has been featured on national radio and print media. He is also a frequent lecturer at National Conferences. He holds an A.S. degree in Drug & Alcohol Studies, and two B.A. degrees in Criminology & Psychology, and masters and doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. He is a licensed California Drug & Alcohol Counselor Level II, a licensed Clinical Supervisor and is certified in treating Eating Disorders.

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