Mixing fentanyl and alcohol, even one time, could kill you. This danger is because fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin — even a tiny amount of this powder is deadly. As alcohol exacerbates the effects of opiates, taking fentanyl and then drinking alcohol heightens your risk of severe mental and bodily damage and can cause you to overdose unintentionally. Simultaneous use of these two drugs can cause irregular heart rate, respiratory arrest, coma, and death.

If you or a loved one are addicted to opioids, the last thing you want to do is reach for alcohol. Instead, reach out to someone who can help. Caring intake coordinators at The Recovery Village are standing by to talk with you about your situation and get you into a treatment program that works. Call today and take the first step toward healing.

What Is Fentanyl?

As one of the deadliest synthetic opioids ever created, fentanyl is a painkiller that is up to 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recognizes fentanyl as a Schedule II substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and dependence, just like cocaine and meth. In a medical setting, this highly addictive narcotic is used only for severe pain such as in post-surgery cases or for patients with terminal cancer.

Often sold illegally on the street, there were 9,580 fentanyl overdose deaths in 2015. This opioid is extremely addictive, and continued use can wreak havoc on your mind and body in irreparable ways. A very small dose of fentanyl can be lethal; even a one-time use can kill you. Using fentanyl on its own can be deadly. Combining fentanyl with alcohol increases that risk.

What Are the Side Effects of Fentanyl and Alcohol?

Fentanyl is commonly used for severe pain and is typically the painkiller of choice for surgeries. Even under medical supervision, prescribed use of fentanyl can cause hypoventilation, loss of consciousness and coma. When you add alcohol, a central nervous system depressant, the risk of death increases. Less lethal side effects of simultaneous use of fentanyl and alcohol include:

  • Irregular heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Uncontrollable vomiting
  • Respiratory depression
  • Constricted pupils
  • Nausea
  • Decreased coordination
  • Slurred speech

Dangers of Mixing Fentanyl and Alcohol

Combining fentanyl with alcohol is dangerous. The effects of both depress your respiratory functioning, the high potency of fentanyl is often misunderstood and you can quickly become physically and psychologically reliant on the two. Both fentanyl and alcohol are highly addictive substances that increase each other’s effects when taken together. Short-term use of these substances can land you in the hospital or worse.

Over time, you can develop a tolerance to this mixture, meaning you will ingest more pills and drinks to achieve the same euphoric effect. But each time you take more fentanyl or drink more alcohol, you increase your chances of overdose, coma, and death.

Treatment for Fentanyl and Alcohol

If you or a loved one is struggling to stop using fentanyl and alcohol, it’s important that you do not attempt to detox on your own, as this can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms and increased substance use.

Concurrent substance use disorders (like fentanyl and alcohol) are difficult to break free from, but with a team of compassionate, trained clinicians, you can successfully leave addiction behind. The Recovery Village offers medically assisted detoxresidential and outpatient care for drug and alcohol addictions, including fentanyl and alcohol use. Treatment programs provide mental health care for co-occurring disorders like anxiety and depression. If you’re reliant on drugs and alcohol, reaching out for help can be your first step toward healing. Recovery is possible — call The Recovery Village today to get the care you deserve.

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Editor – Thomas Christiansen
With over a decade of content experience, Tom produces and edits research articles, news and blog posts produced for Advanced Recovery Systems. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Conor Sheehy, PharmD, BCPS, CACP
Dr. Sheehy completed his BS in Molecular Biology at the University of Idaho and went on to complete his Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) at the University of Washington in Seattle. Read more
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.