Mixing Alcohol With Heroin: What Are the Dangers?
Taking heroin alone has its own set of consequences and dangers, but mixing heroin and alcohol exacerbates the dangers and can put you in harm’s way. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at why mixing heroin and alcohol is so dangerous and what you can do to seek help before it’s too late.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, we’re here to help. To learn more about your treatment options, call Zinnia Health at (855) 430-9439.
What Are The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol With Heroin?
Mixing alcohol use with heroin can be a deadly combination. When these two substances are combined, they can slow down the respiratory system to the point of cessation. Mixing alcohol and heroin can also amplify both drugs’ sedative effects.
This can also increase your risk of overdose. The combination can make it difficult to assess how much of each substance has been consumed, further increasing the chances of dangerous side effects and overdose.
Can You Drink on Heroin?
Heroin and alcohol are both powerful central nervous system depressants that slow down vital functions like breathing and heart rate. For these reasons, including their ability to impact physical, mental, and behavioral health, it is strongly recommended that you do not mix heroin and alcohol.
The dangers of mixing these two substances, including heroin overdose, alcohol poisoning, and death, far outweigh any “enhanced buzz” a heroin user may get.
How Long After Taking Heroin Can You Drink Alcohol?
If you have already taken heroin or any other opiates, you should wait until the drugs have completely left your system before you drink any alcohol.
The amount of time it will take for heroin to leave your body depends on a number of factors, such as:
- How much heroin you took
- Method of ingestion
- Individual factors, such as:
- Overall health
- History of drug use
Why Do People Mix Alcohol With Heroin?
There are a number of reasons people choose to mix alcohol and heroin. Some heroin users choose to drink while high on heroin because they are long-time drug users looking for ways to create a more intense high.
Others mix the two substances because they think it will help offset the side effects of the other drug. Other people may be unaware of the dangers of mixing the two substances and do so without thinking about the harm it could cause.
It’s important to remember that mixing alcohol and heroin is extremely dangerous, no matter why you choose to do it. It can significantly increase the risk of an opioid overdose.
Why Is It Dangerous to Mix Heroin and Alcohol?
Mixing heroin and alcohol is extremely dangerous and can lead to serious health consequences, including death. Here’s why:
- Increased risk of overdose: Heroin and alcohol are both central nervous system depressants. When taken together, the risk of overdose — on either substance — is increased.
- Increased risk of addiction: Using heroin and alcohol together can increase your chances of becoming addicted to either or both substances. This is especially true with these two highly addictive drugs.
- Impaired judgment and motor coordination: This often causes people to drive under the influence and engage in other risky behaviors.
- Liver damage: Heroin and alcohol can cause liver damage. When taken together, they can further damage the liver, potentially leading to liver failure.
- Mental health issues: Using heroin and alcohol together can increase the risk of mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.
If you’re in need of addiction treatment, Zinnia Health is here to help. Browse our broad range of alcohol addiction and opiate addiction programs here, and then reach out to us or call (855) 430-9439 to learn the next step in the admissions process.
What Can Happen if You Drink While on Heroin?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns against polysubstance use or using two or more substances together or within a short period.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, SAMHSA, the prevalence of polysubstance use is high.
People also combine alcohol and binge drinking with:
- Stimulants like methamphetamine
- Hallucinogens like LSD
- Prescription drugs like codeine or oxycodone
Mixing alcohol and heroin is particularly dangerous because the two substances have a synergistic effect on the body. This means that the combined influence of the two drugs is greater than the sum of the individual effects. In other words, when alcohol and heroin are mixed, they potentiate each other’s toxicity.
Due to how alcohol and heroin affect the brain, the intoxication that results from mixing them is much more intense than using just one of them on their own. Both alcohol and heroin are central nervous system depressants, which can cause similar adverse side effects. Combining the two substances raises the risk of a user having a negative effect.
Short-term effects may include:
Respiratory depression reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to the brain. This can cause a person to pass out or even die. Additionally, both drugs can cause vomiting, and when mixed, this effect is amplified. The risk of choking on one’s own vomit is increased when heroin and alcohol are used together.
What Are the Symptoms of Drinking Alcohol With Heroin?
Symptoms of heroin use combined with alcohol use include:
- Mood swings
- Extremely slowed, shallow breathing
- Low blood pressure, which can lead to fainting and dizziness
- Increased risk of overdose
- Alcohol withdrawal
- Decreased libido
- Slurred speech
- Heroin withdrawal symptoms, also known as “dope sickness”
- Increased heart rate
How to Get Help for a Heroin Addiction
If you’re struggling with alcohol abuse or an opioid use disorder, you know just how hard it can be. The cravings are constant, and staying sober can be incredibly tough. Every day is a battle, but it’s one that you can win.
Many inpatient and outpatient resources are available to help you, and there is no shame in seeking treatment. Zinnia Health offers various substance abuse treatment services, including methadone and buprenorphine programs, at our treatment centers around the country.