Drug Detox Centers Warn Patients About Combining Alcohol and Cocaine

Drug detox centers are making their patients increasingly aware of the dangers of mixing cocaine and alcohol. Many drug addiction treatment center patients describe their cocaine use as a compliment to their alcohol use. Anywhere from 30-60% of cocaine users use the drug exclusively in combination with alcohol.

Cocaine, a stimulant, acts to combat the depressive qualities of alcohol and allows drug addiction treatment center patients to drink more quantities of alcohol without passing out. However,Oxycodone withdrawal symptoms drug detox centers realize better than their patients that when alcohol is combined with cocaine, a new drug forms in the body that is extremely toxic. This drug is called cocaethylene, and it is the only known example of the body forming a third drug when two others are combined. This drug is formed in the liver after cocaine and alcohol are consumed together. It has both euphoric and stimulating effects, but it is much more toxic than cocaine alone.

Few people outside the pharmacology world have ever heard of the chemical known as cocaethylene, and most drug detox centers rarely find any of their drug addiction treatment center patients who have heard of it, either. Drug detox centers tell their drug addiction patients that cocaethylene is extremely poisonous to the liver.

The liver is not the only organ severely effected by cocaethylene. For people in their 30s and 40s heart attacks can be a direct result of ingesting cocaine and alcohol together, because cocaethylene is very toxic to the cardiovascular system. More sudden deaths from cocaine induced heart failure occur when cocaethylene is present in the deceased person’s body. In fact, data shows that people who use cocaine and alcohol together are 18 times more likely to die from cardiac arrest than those who use cocaine without mixing it with alcohol.

In the past, many people thought that some people died from mixing cocaine with alcohol because they happened to be overly sensitive to alcohol. However, in studies using rats, scientists have proven that the toxicity resulting from combing cocaine and alcohol is not due to enhanced sensitivity to alcohol for cocaine users.

Cocaethylene’s powerful effects may help to explain the increasing attraction of combining alcohol and cocaine. A 2003 study by scientists at the University of California’s Drug Dependence Research Centre noted: “The combined use of alcohol and cocaine can produce a sense of increased and prolonged euphoria, compared with the use of either substance on its own.”

Drug treatment centers report that many cocaine and alcohol users say the mix of drugs makes them feel sharper, more together mentally, and able to feel “sober” for long periods of time while partying.