Mixing Alcohol and Opiates
Dangerous Drug Cocktails
The mixing alcohol and other substances of abuse, referred to as cocktails, are extremely dangerous and can severely harm the user’s body. In fact, they can even lead to death. Take this for example: taking too much of drug A will cause liver failure; however, when mixed with drug B, it will happen hours sooner. Factor in drug C and your body will shut down before it even reaches your liver.1 It happens all the time.
Everyone Reacts Different to Drug Cocktails
Cocktail creations are made, and as everyone is different, their bodies react to the concoction in different ways—most not so well.1 Therefore, it is impossible to tell which ones may really screw you up and which ones will put you six feet under. The following combinations regarding alcohol and opioids are labeled as deadly.
Alcohol and Drug Cocktails Can Be Deadly
Mixing alcohol with certain substances can create deadly combinations. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) lists several cocktails on their website that are known for their deadly mixtures. First, there is alcohol and benzodiazepines. SAMHSA’s Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) stated that over a fifth of drug-related emergency department visits in 2009 were caused by this combination. What may have started out as “fun” quickly turns into respiratory depression and coma—both of which can lead to death if professional help is not sought out quickly.1 Second, unfortunately growing in popularity, is mixing alcohol and prescription painkillers. According to SAMHSA, the number of emergency visits due to alcohol and fentanyl, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, morphine, and/or oxycodone doubled between 2004 and 2009.2 Third, alcohol and cocaine are a toxic combination that results in one-third of emergency department visits yearly.2 Together, they form a chemical called cocaethylene that affects the heart and liver.1 While it wasn’t the exact cause of Whitney Houston’s death, it was found in her system during autopsy—the chemical caused the heart disease that contributed to her drowning.1
There are hundreds of other drugs that are used as part of substance cocktails; however, the most popular are those mixed with alcohol, especially opioids or prescription painkillers. These are also the most dangerous combinations that can lead to death.
 Detwiler, Jacqueline. “These Common Drug Cocktails are Lethal.” Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Recovery News. N.p., 11 June 2012. Web. 22 Jan. 2013. <http://www.thefix.com/content/drugs-cocktails-kill-combinations90237>.
 “DAWN – Drug Abuse Warning Network .” Data Outcomes and Quality. SAMHSA, n.d. Web. 22 Jan. 2013. http://www.samhsa.gov/data/DAWN.aspx. Cocktails.