The Dangers of Mixing Cocaine and Alcohol
An addict in recovery told a story at our Thailand rehab about his drug use. He said “it began when I was a freshman in college. I tried coke with my friends and liked it, but soon they told me to get drunk beforehand to intensify the effects. And so, I did….from that introduction and then onwards, mixing cocaine and alcohol was my go to drugs of choice.” What he didn’t know at the time, he went on to explain, is that this combination leaves a highly toxic chemical in the liver called cocaethylene.
This story is just one of thousands around the globe. Cocaine, a stimulant, produces a high which causes an extreme rush of energy and euphoria which fades quickly - in about 20 minutes. The user will continue to snort lines (or sometimes inject) to feel this high. To heighten this sensation, alcohol may be introduced. As a depressant, it helps to further increase these feelings and taper the discomfort as the user comes down from cocaine.
Interestingly enough, many people are not familiar with the dangers of mixing cocaine and alcohol. Mention “cocaetheylene” to people and they’ll likely have no clue what it is apart from being some sort of concoction. In fact, this very real, life threatening chemical was only discovered by scientists in 1979 after many disco era fans overdosed and died whilst consuming the two drugs. Even when a person continues to mix alcohol cocaine without any direct side effects, they will, at some point, face the reality of their state of health.
The Dangerous Alcohol and Cocaine Cocktail
When a person uses cocaine and alcohol around the same period of time, the two drugs interact in the body and create an entirely new substance called cocaethylene. This chemical has a longer half life (or lasts longer) and can stay in the body for up to five times longer than separate alcohol or cocaine usage. This metabolite (as it’s called), subjects the liver and heart to a lengthy period of stress which is why people have died up to 24 hours after using. Cocaethylene can quickly cause lasting damage to the liver, weaken the immune system and deteriorate the digestive system. It can also lead to seizures, cardiac arrest and death.
Even more worrisome of cocaine and alcohol mixing is that the overall intoxication can be masked. For example, cocaine can decrease the feelings of being drunk even though the alcohol and impairment that comes along with it is still lingering. A persons inhabitations may decrease and they may feel that they’re “perfectly okay to drive”. At the same time, as a stimulant, cocaine speeds up the heart rate which could be dangerous. Couple this in with alcohols’ ability to slow down the heart and an unstable heart beat could occur; this can be the beginning of a heart attack.
Overdosing on Cocaine and Alcohol
Overdosing on cocaine and alcohol is possible. Consuming excessive amounts at any given time could cause severe alcohol poisoning which can be fatal. At any time a person is vomiting, it’s important to lie on the side, in a fetal position, with the top of the arm raised above the head. This position will help to prevent asphyxiation by vomit. If this is happening, emergency personal should be immediately sought. Finally, using too much of the drug and falling asleep can lead a person into a coma and death; this is still considered to be an overdose.
How Cocaethylene Affects the Brain
Cocaehtylene is often considered to be a drug in itself. It acts as a stimulant, increases euphoria, curbs hunger and numbs pain. These all take place because of very specific action happening in the brain. Serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine (all neurotransmitters) are inhibited while the levels of the serotonergic, noradrenergic and dopaminergic are significantly increased. If all this is scientific jargon to you, what is important to understand is that this is very intense and the core reason why the cocaine and alcohol effects last longer.
Getting Treatment at a Cocaine and Alcohol Rehab Center
When a person has an addiction to cocaine and alcohol (this includes frequent bingeing), a private treatment program should be considered. This is because coming off of alcohol can have very strong physical withdrawal symptoms; whereas the withdrawal symptoms of cocaine tend to be more psychological. A cocaine and alcohol detox will take place to allow a person to feel more comfortable while being safely monitored by professionals. After this acute treatment, intensive counselling, cognitive behavior therapy and holistic healing can begin.
Serenity Thailand Rehab Center for Cocaine and Alcohol
Serenity Chiang Rai Rehab is a private residential facility situated alongside the jungle on an island off the coast of Thailand. Our sober living environment includes 24/7 supervision, monitoring and ongoing therapy. Our cocaine and alcohol treatment programs are custom tailored to an individual’s needs thereby allowing a full spectrum of comprehensive care to take place. Upon completing our affordable Thailand rehab programs, patients can further enhance their recovery at our sober living house.
If you or someone you know has an addiction to cocaine and alcohol and would like to get adequate treatment and live a healthier, drug free life, please contact Serenity Rehab in Thailand today.