The side effects of mixing crack cocaine and alcohol can be fatal. Being addicted to these two substances is dangerous, but dual diagnosis treatment is available.

Article at a Glance:

  • Mixing alcohol and crack cocaine increases the dangerous effects of both drugs.
  • The side effects of mixing cocaine and alcohol can be fatal.
  • Professional help is the best way to overcome a dual alcohol and crack addiction.

Dangers of Mixing Crack and Alcohol

Most people who mix crack and alcohol together do so because they believe alcohol will ease some of the negative side effects that usually come with a crack comedown, including vertigo and tremors. While this combination can induce a state of euphoria, the enormous health risks it poses aren’t worth a short burst of bliss.

Mixing crack and alcohol together can result in a wide range of dangerous and even lethal consequences.

When both of these substances mingle in the body, the liver begins to produce a compound called cocaethylene. This toxic chemical takes a long time to leave the body, becoming more and more deadly as it builds up in the tissues and organs. As cocaethylene levels rise, the heart becomes vulnerable to cardiac effects, heightening the potential of sudden death. See More → 

Crack also speeds up the absorption and slows the metabolization of alcohol, lowering the amount of alcohol needed to experience alcohol poisoning or overdose.

Alcohol poisoning can be fatal. If you suspect someone is experiencing alcohol poisoning, call 911 immediately. Do NOT be afraid to seek help. If you do not have access to a phone, contact Web Poison Control Services for online assistance.

What Are the Side Effects of Crack and Alcohol?

On its own, crack’s side effects are dangerous — when mixed with alcohol, crack cocaine becomes even more deadly. Potential side effects of mixing crack and alcohol include:

  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Liver toxicity
  • Shallow breathing
  • Heart attack
  • Coma

Treatment for Crack Cocaine and Alcohol Addiction

Both crack and alcohol are incredibly physically addictive, so kicking the habit without professional help can be both difficult and dangerous. Crack withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Agitation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle pain
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Brain seizures

If you or someone you care about is struggling with a crack or alcohol addiction, the best thing to do is seek help from an addiction treatment center. The Recovery Village offers access to personalized care and expert help from physicians, psychologists and counselors through the detox processinpatient treatment and beyond. Contact an intake coordinator today to learn more about our nationwide care.

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Editor – Erica Weiman
Erica Weiman graduated from Pace University in 2014 with a master's in Publishing and has been writing and editing ever since. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Benjamin Caleb Williams, RN
Benjamin Caleb Williams is a board-certified Emergency Nurse with several years of clinical experience, including supervisory roles within the ICU and ER settings. Read more

O’Malley, Gerald & O’Malley, Rika. “Cocaine.” Merck Manuals. May 2020. Accessed October 15, 2021.

Andrews, P. “Cocaethylene toxicity.” Journal of Addictive Diseases, 1997. Accessed October 15, 2021.

Cami, J., Farré, M., González, M.L., Segura, J., & de la Torre, R. “Cocaine metabolism in humans after use o[…]esearch implications.” Recent Developments in Alcoholism, 1998. Accessed October 15, 2021.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village 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.