Unfortunately, mixing alcohol and opiates isn’t an uncommon practice. Alcohol is a drug that is commonly mixed with others, because, well, it’s a lot easier to make poor decisions–like mixing in another drug–while drunk. In 2010, nearly 19 thousand people who entered alcohol rehab also abused opiates, according to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services administration. On the flip-side, nearly 28 thousand people in opiate rehab also abused alcohol.
Most drug addicts don’t enter rehab at all, so the number of people who drink on opiates is probably much, much higher.
Side Effects of Opiates
Opiates are painkiller medications made from opium, a naturally occurring compound of the poppy plant. Because of their strong euphoric effect, these drugs—even the legal options, and even when taken as directed by a doctor—have a high potential for abuse. They are extremely risky.
Some side effects of opiates include:
– decreased heart rate
– low blood pressure
– slowed respiratory function
Side Effects of Alcohol
Another depressant, alcohol, too, slows down the body.
Alcohol can cause:
– digestive problems
– decreased coordination
– loss of consciousness
Combining Opiates and Alcohol
Many addicts find that drinking while high opiates enhances their high and their relaxation. Even by themselves, these two substances can cause a lot of damage, but when mixed, they become absolutely lethal. The risk of overdose is significantly increased when you mix any two drugs.
Treating Opiate-Alcohol Abuse
Both opiate and alcohol withdrawal are intense, and the latter can actually be life threatening if it is not treated correctly. If you abuse either of these drugs, and you’re ready to stop, don’t try to do it on your own—check into a medical detox clinic, where doctors can monitor your progress, administer medication as needed, and do whatever it takes to get you through your acute withdrawal and onto your next step, whatever it may be: inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, therapy, group meetings.
Nobody has to face drug addiction alone—especially not opiate or alcohol addiction. Because these two illnesses are so common in the US, there exists a massive amount of research, funds, and treatment programs dedicated to fighting them. To find out how to get yourself or a loved one into detox, rehab, or any other treatment services, give us a call here at The Last Resort recovery center: 512.575.4071.