What Happens When You Mix Cocaine and Alcohol?

Alcohol is often an accessory to illicit substances like cocaine. Both alcohol and cocaine can bring forth changes in behavior, mood and mindset that some find to be an intoxicating escape. When combined, they can create a dangerous concoction, as alcohol (a depressant) and cocaine (a stimulant) compete to take their effects on the body. These substances can cause an unclear state of mind and even result in death from overdose or alcohol poisoning. Alcohol and cocaine should never be used together, as the risks greatly outweigh any potential reward. 

mixing cocaine and alcohol

What Are the Side Effects of Cocaine and Alcohol?

Because alcohol is a depressant, it acts very differently from cocaine, a stimulant. When combined, these two can create conflicting reactions in the body that can be deadly. There are many long-term and short-term side effects associated with blending the two, including:

  • Breathing problems
  • Increased heart rate
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Loss of coordination and motor function
  • Heart palpitations
  • Cerebral infarction (death of blood vessels and blood tissue)
  • Aneurysm
  • Stroke
  • Brain damage
  • Coma
  • Death

Dangers of Mixing Cocaine and Alcohol

When cocaine and alcohol are metabolized in the liver, a substance called cocaethylene is produced, temporarily enhancing the highs associated with both drugs. This buildup is particularly dangerous, as it increases blood pressure and can lead to aggressive and violent behavior, along with long-term liver damage and the potential for sudden death. Combined alcohol and cocaine use is also linked to an increase in suicide, according to a study at Brown University. Because both substances impair judgment and cognitive thinking, it is much harder to track and monitor the intake and frequency of use, creating at a much higher risk for overdose and alcohol poisoning. Alcohol and cocaine use should not be taken lightly, and they should never be used together. If you or someone you love is struggling with these two drugs, it’s important to seek help to prevent further damage.

Treatment for Cocaine and Alcohol

The Recovery Village is a national network of rehabilitation centers specializing in treating drug and alcohol addiction and co-occurring disorders (mental health issues alongside substance use disorders). At facilities like The Recovery Village, you’ll learn how to live life without drugs and alcohol, discover how to manage cravings and maintain your health.

For most, treatment begins with medical detox, a clinical process designed to help you transition away from substances in a safe environment. With the help of a 24-hour staff of caring clinicians, therapists and more, you’ll transition into an inpatient or outpatient program that serves as a foundation for a drug-free life. If you’re ready to take the first step toward clarity without alcohol and cocaine, contact The Recovery Village to springboard a new life.