Mixing Cocaine with Alcohol and Other Drugs

Whenever a person uses a substance of abuse to excess, they are putting themselves in a potentially life-threatening situation. When a person combines one substance of abuse, especially one that is as potent as cocaine, with alcohol and other substances, the effects of each individual substance intensifies.1 The practice of co-abuse of multiple substances has grown into a nationwide epidemic.2

The combined health risks, including that of an overdose, follow suit: they multiply and grow exponentially. The person in the grip of cocaine abuse can suffer short-term and long-term effects which may cause permanent and irreversible damage, and the risks are even higher when other substances are added to the mix.3

What Are the Effects of Mixing Cocaine with Other Drugs?

Mixing cocaine with any other substances can lead to grave health consequences, including permanent brain damage and damage to the body.4

The effect of cocaine when the drug is mixed with other substances depends on the other substance.1 Some substances intensify the effect of cocaine and others lead to additional adverse side effects.3

Additionally, street dealers may combine cocaine with other substances, including other dangerous drugs, to increase profit.3  Particularly dangerous additives are synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, considered to be one of the key contributing factors to the increasing numbers of cocaine-related overdose deaths.3

Effects of Cocaine on the Mind and Brain

On its own, cocaine can have the following effects on the mind and brain:1

  • Euphoric effects, the intensity of which depends on how rapidly the drug reaches the brain, which in turn depends on the dose and method of abuse. When smoked or injected, cocaine reaches the brain in seconds, with a rapid buildup in levels. Snorting heroin produces a less intense euphoria which does not happen as quickly. Other effects include increased alertness and excitation, but also restlessness, irritability, and anxiety.
  • Tolerance to the effects of cocaine develops rapidly, so users will gradually increase the dose to acheive the same effects. Taking high doses over a long period of time can lead to paranoia.
  • The euphoria is followed by a crash, characterized by mental and physical exhaustion, sleep, and depression, sometimes spanning several days. The crash is followed by a renewed craving to use cocaine again.

Effects of Cocaine on the Body

Cocaine can have the following effects on the body:1

  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Dilated pupils
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite

Severe adverse health consequences may include:1

  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Ischemic heart conditions.
  • Sudden cardiac arrest.
  • Convulsions.
  • Strokes.
  • Death.

Long-term use of inhaled cocaine can lead to a unique respiratory syndrome, while chronic snorting of the drug can cause erosion of the upper nasal cavity.1

Why Do People Mix Cocaine With Other Substances?

Different substances cause different reactions. While cocaine, a stimulant drug, makes a person extremely alert and highly responsive to stimuli, drugs like heroin which are sometimes co-abused with cocaine can slow the person’s central nervous system down.5

People often deliberately mix drugs because they want them to cancel out each other’s negative side effects. But more often than not, the opposite happens. This can result in an overdose with serious long-term consequences.1

Under the effect of drugs, people are more prone to engaging in high-risk behaviors such as experimenting with multiple substances at the same time.5

Recreational substance abuse is no less dangerous. It is especially dangerous to combine cocaine with other so-called party drugs. Not only can the synergy of these substances have a negative effect on the health of an individual, but they may also experience an accidental overdose which can have a lethal outcome.1

Mixing Cocaine with Alcohol

Cocaine is commonly combined with alcohol which can negatively affect a person’s health in the short term or the long term. This may lead to serious side effects including nausea, stroke, chest pain, coma and many more, including death.1

What Are the Risks of Mixing Cocaine with Heroin?

The notorious combination of cocaine and heroin can have a devastating effect on a person’s health.6 Side effects are serious and range from anxiety, nasal septum damage, deterioration of muscle tissue and many more, to coma and death.1

People may purposefully combine heroin and cocaine because they want cocaine, a stimulant, to balance out the soporific effect of heroin, an opioid. But it is more likely that the combination will do the opposite: exacerbate the individual cardiovascular and pulmonary effects of the two drugs and so further enhance the associated toxicity and lethality.5

The increases in mortality among cocaine consumers may likely be due to people using cocaine in combination with opioids like heroin and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.5

What Are the Risks of Combining Cocaine With Ecstasy/MDMA?

It’s not uncommon for individuals to mix cocaine with other stimulants ecstasy/MDMA which further intensify the effects of cocaine. This practice can lead to a range of side effects including but not limited to:1

  • Confusion.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Paranoia.

What Are the Effects of Mixing Cocaine with Antidepressants?

Mixing cocaine with antidepressants can have a negative impact on a person’s health due to the intense effect on the central nervous system and the serotonin system.1 The combined effect can lead to serious side effects, including but not limited to:1

  • High blood pressure.
  • Increased heartbeat.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Seizures, shaking, tremors and shivering.
  • High fever.
  • Heart failure.
  • Coma.

What Are the Risks of Mixing Cocaine with Marijuana?

Mixing cocaine with marijuana is a common practice which can have serious interactions and come with serious side effects and potentially fatal complications, including but not limited to:1

  • Elevated blood pressure.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Heart failure.
  • Overdose.
  • Death.

What Can Happen When Cocaine Is Mixed with Benzodiazepines?

When a person combines cocaine with benzodiazepines, they are at risk of suffering a range of adverse effects. Mixing cocaine with different benzos can lead to an overdose.7

Mixing Xanax, a commonly prescribed opioid, with cocaine is an exceptionally popular combination. This is because cocaine makes the person agitated and irritable so they take the easily available Xanax to help them calm down.8

What Are the Risks of Mixing Cocaine with LSD?

The combination of cocaine and LSD can have extremely dangerous, serious side effects.

Mixing Cocaine with LSD can negatively affect a user’s health, which may lead to serious side effects including but not limited to:1

  • Confusion.
  • Malnutrition and loss of appetite.
  • Chest pain.
  • Heart palpitations.

Get Help for Cocaine and Polydrug Use Now

Co-occurring abuse of cocaine and other drugs is associated with a high risk of life-threatening or fatal overdose.9 Rehab centers nationwide can play a vital role in the process of helping treatment-seeking individuals overcome addiction to cocaine and alcohol or other drugs and turn to a sober, productive way of life.

Treatment-seeking individuals have different rehab payment options at their disposal and can have their insurance easily verified. There are also various treatment centers nationwide that can cater to the unique needs of individuals in the grip of cocaine abuse.

Individuals battling chronic, longstanding polysubstance abuse are often prone to and have a history of relapses. These and other serious issues which may arise from or in connection to polysubstance abuse such as co-occurring mental health disorders are best addressed through structured long-term treatment.9

Individuals receive tailored treatment plans which incorporate different modalities of treatment designed to address polydrug use as comprehensively as possible. These include but are not limited to:9

  • Detox
  • Inpatient care
  • Residential treatment
  • Transitional care
  • Outpatient treatment
  • Continuing care


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