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The Dangers of Mixing Cocaine & Alcohol

The Dangers of Mixing Cocaine & Alcohol

Cocaine alone is a highly addictive stimulant that can lead to cardiovascular issues, brain damage, mental health problems, and other organ damage.

It is considered a hard drug and is illegal in the United States. Even though many people are aware of the dangers that can accompany its use, they cannot seem to stop without cocaine addiction treatment.

On the other hand, alcohol is a much less threatening substance of abuse because drinking is often considered a social activity. Although people are allowed to legally drink at the age of 21 in the United States, many people abuse alcohol and can become addicted to the substance. It too can lead to serious health problems with prolonged abuse such as irreversible damage to the organs.

While both alone can be bad for a person’s health, especially after prolonged abuse, together they can lead to even more dangerous side effects.

What Happens When You Mix Alcohol & Cocaine?

Cocaine is a stimulant and alcohol is classified a depressant, but their effects do not just cancel each other out. While alcohol is a depressant that will ultimately leave you feeling tired and slow you down, it does have some initial effects that mimic stimulants. This mixture of effects combined with those of cocaine can be harsh on the body and may lead to some serious and even fatal health problems.

Along with giving the body mixed signals, when cocaine is mixed with alcohol, the body creates a new byproduct known as cocaethylene. Cocaethylene is a toxic metabolite that has a longer half-life than cocaine alone, so it takes longer for the body to break it down.1 For this reason, people who use alcohol and cocaine at the same time will experience the effects of these drugs for a longer amount of time. While this may seem desirable to addicts, the longer lasting effects and new chemical can also lead to greater damage.

Some possible effects of mixing cocaine and alcohol include:

  • Greater and longer lasting euphoria
  • Increased heart rate
  • Liver damage
  • Heart problems
  • Lowered immune system
  • Blocking of blood and oxygen to the brain
  • Stroke
  • Seizures 1,2,3,4

Along with these health effects from cocaethylene, alcohol has also been found to lead to increased cocaine cravings in users.5 This may also be problematic for users trying to quit as alcohol consumption could increase the risk of relapse. This is also why those in different types of addiction treatment programs for drugs are also advised not to drink.

Although dangerous, mixing cocaine and alcohol is not new. Many people are quick to ignore these warnings, but combining drugs or mixing drugs with alcohol is always a dangerous idea, especially when illicit drugs are involved. Dangerous drug interactions are also possible with prescription medicines. If you are taking more than one medication at a time or would like to drink while taking these medications, talk to your doctor beforehand. If you have a drinking problem and fear that you may not be able to help yourself, our Pompano alcohol rehab can help you quit.

Substance abuse of any kind can be dangerous and the longer you wait to get help, the more severe your problems could become. Our programs at Banyan Pompano are designed to help people overcome their addictions for good.

Whether you want more information for yourself or a loved one, reach out to us now at 888-280-4763.


  1. NCBI - Cocaethylene toxicity
  2. NCBI - Neurotoxic and cardiotoxic effects of cocaine and ethanol
  3. NCBI - Cocaethylene: pharmacology, physiology and behavioral effects in humans
  4. NCBI - Cocaine use and stroke
  5. NCBI - Alcohol Administration Increases Cocaine Craving But Not Cocaine Cue Attentional Bias
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
The Dangers of Mixing Cocaine & Alcohol
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