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This may be the result of poor education regarding drug abuse or even a much deeper issue, like addiction. In 2018, an estimated 5.5 million people aged 12 and older used cocaine in the past year, including 757,000 crack users.1 Additionally, the misuse of prescription drugs – such as sedatives like Xanax – is also a serious public health problem in the United States. In 2017, an estimated 18 million people misused their prescription medications at least once in that year alone.2 In light of the opioid epidemic, using multiple drugs – such as taking Xanax and cocaine – has become a growing problem.
Also known as coke or crack, cocaine is an illicit central nervous system stimulant that works by inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a role mainly in pleasure, pain, and reward or reinforcing behaviors. When a person uses cocaine, dopamine release is activated between neurons. The chemical is then transmitted from one neuron to another across a synapse. The synapse is the space between two neurons. Cocaine produces an energetic and euphoric high by preventing a protein from reabsorbing the excess dopamine, flooding the brain.
Some common side effects of coke include:
Dopamine’s role in addiction is to reinforce drug-taking behavior. Dopamine is usually released in the brain when we do something pleasurable, which is when substances that affect dopamine levels, like cocaine, are so addictive. Not only is the drug itself harmful, but coke also often contains cutting agents or additional substances that can intensify its side effects, increase its potential to cause harm, and make it more difficult to quit. For long-time users, medical cocaine detox is one of the safest ways to quit.
Also known as alprazolam, Xanax is a benzodiazepine that’s used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Benzodiazepines or benzos are different from stimulants like cocaine because they reduce nerve activity rather than activate it. Specifically, benzos like Xanax work by enhancing the effects of an inhibitory neurotransmitter called gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA reduces neuronal excitability through the central nervous system, producing a calming effect.
Some common side effects of alprazolam (Xanax) include:
Long-term effects of Xanax abuse include liver failure, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, kidney toxicity, and more. Even if they’re prescribed, abusing drugs can severely impact your physical and mental health. If you’re currently struggling to control how often or how much of your medications you’re using, our prescription drug addiction treatment can help.
So, what are the risks of mixing cocaine and Xanax? Since these drugs are complete opposites, it can be easy to think that they’d cancel each other out, but that’s not necessarily true. Taking cocaine with Xanax neither elevates a person’s energy nor relaxes them. There are additional and damaging side effects.
Cocaine and Xanax produce different side effects. While cocaine may produce euphoria, alertness, and paranoia, Xanax generally decreases anxiety, decreases energy, and increases drowsiness. However, both can also cause irritability and restlessness. Also, a common side effect of a cocaine comedown is depression and exhaustion, both of which can also be caused by Xanax. As a result, taking them together can intensify each of the drugs’ side effects.
Increasing the severity of depression when a person is coming down from a cocaine high can be dangerous and life-threatening. Oftentimes, the depression users experience when withdrawing from coke increases their risk of self-harming, suicidal thoughts, and suicidal behaviors. Xanax’s depressive side effects may also encourage the individual to ingest even more cocaine, increasing their risk of addiction.
Continually mixing coke and Xanax can result in an accumulation in the body, increasing toxicity levels to the point where the person overdoses. However, even if an overdose doesn’t occur, long-term use of crack and Xanax can damage the liver and inhibit it from functioning properly, resulting in other physical diseases.
Xanax and coke withdrawal symptoms can be equally as difficult to manage. Without the assistance of medically monitored detox, withdrawing from coke and Xanax can lead to high blood pressure and painful physical discomfort. There’s also the increased risk of depression and suicidal thoughts and behaviors.