Addiction is not the worst possible consequence of substance abuse. If you risk abusing drugs or alcohol, you risk your life. A fatal overdose is always a possibility for anyone choosing to misuse drugs and alcohol. The biggest risk is to combine alcohol with drugs. Mixing substances is always dangerous, but certain combinations are riskier than others. If you happen to be taking any of these kinds of drugs as directed by a doctor, never mix them with drinking.
Alcohol and Stimulants
Adderall and alcohol is a popular, but dangerous, combination. Any stimulant mixed with alcohol is unsafe, but Adderall comes up often as it is prescribed so frequently for people with ADHD. Other stimulants include many other ADHD drugs, like Ritalin or Concerta, but also illicit substances like crystal meth and cocaine. What makes the combination of alcohol and stimulant so risky is that the stimulant can make you feel less drunk than you really are. Alcohol is a depressant, while a stimulant has the opposite effect. A stimulant will perk you up and make you feel more alert. If you then drink more alcohol, you can accidentally drink too much and get alcohol poisoning.
Alcohol and Narcotic Painkillers
A prescription narcotic painkiller taken with alcohol is another example of a dangerous combination. Vicodin and alcohol is a popular pairing that has sent many people to the emergency room and not all emerged alive. Any narcotic painkiller combined with alcohol is risky. These include drugs like hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl, oxymorphone and morphine. They go by many different brand names. Like alcohol, these drugs are depressants. They slow the activity of the central nervous system. Taking two depressants at once just amplifies the harmful effects.
Sedatives, Sleeping Pills and Alcohol
A similar combination is alcohol with any type of sleeping or anti-anxiety pills. These, like alcohol, are depressants, and taking them with alcohol multiplies the sedative effect. Medications like Ambien, Sonata, Klonopin and Valium, which are either sleep aids or anti-anxiety medications, increase the sedative effect of alcohol. Operating any kind of machinery, or sometimes even trying to walk, is dangerous when using this combination of substances.
Particularly harmful is pairing the anti-anxiety drug Xanax with alcohol. Like alcohol, it acts on the hypothalamus in the brain and slows breathing, heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure. The additive effect of using both Xanax and alcohol can slow these necessary bodily functions to a dangerous degree. Xanax also acts more quickly than other sedatives, which poses yet another hazard when combining it with alcohol.
Mixing drugs and alcohol is always risky, but these particular combinations are the most dangerous and can be fatal. If you have been prescribed any of these medications, take seriously the warning to avoid alcohol. And if you abuse these medications with alcohol, now is the time to stop, before it’s too late.