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Risky cocktails - 3: Alcohol and heroin

Risky cocktails – 3: Alcohol and heroin

03 August | 0 Comments | By Rachael

Heroin is an illegal opiate painkiller, which is extracted from morphine, a derivative of the opium poppy plant. It is known by different street names including junk, smack, horse, and junk among others. Heroin, when consumed alone, can cause lethal results, with heroin-related overdose deaths witnessing a four-time increase since 2010. In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a heroin death rate of 13.2 per 100,000 among males aged 25-44 in the year 2015. The United States has witnessed over 6-fold increase in heroin overdose deaths from 2002 to 2015.

Mixing alcohol and heroin is a common practice in drug abusers. The idea may excite the users who may treat themselves to the deadly cocktail in the hope to attain a liberating feeling. However, the ultimate outcome is disastrous.

Hazards of mixing alcohol and heroin

Concurrent use of alcohol and heroin results in a chemical reaction between the two substances in the body. While heroin is an opiate that produces feelings of euphoria and analgesic effects, alcohol suppresses the central nervous system, thereby intensifying the effects of heroin. The immediate effects of simultaneous use of alcohol and heroin may include exhilaration (a sense of extreme well-being), lightheadedness, numbness and a temporary sense of relaxation.

The combination of the two has an additive effect, which is excessively stronger than what each substance produces alone. It increases the risk of overdose, dizziness, drowsiness, shallow breathing, tremors, loss of consciousness, and slowed or irregular heart rate.

In addition to intensifying the effects of heroin, alcohol in the company of heroin may act as a stronger sedative. It may affect concentration and impair coordination, which in turn may heighten the chances of accident or self-injury. According to studies, mixing ethanol (a respiratory depressant) with heroin (a morphine derivative) is likely to increase the risk of sudden death due to respiration failure.

Alcohol, when combined with opiates, such as morphine, heroin, and codeine may also enhance the central nervous system depressant effects of these drugs. Since heroin is a street drug, there is an increased risk of contamination and strong doses. Mixing it further with alcohol may further raise the risk of alcohol poisoning, coma or brain damage.

Treating co-occurring alcohol and heroin addiction

The regular intake of alcohol and heroin combination may lead to addiction and in most cases, a professional help is required to treat such serious addiction. Any addiction treatment is aimed at helping the person stop using drugs, stay drug-free, and be productive in the family, at work and in society.

A successful addiction treatment has many steps including detoxification (the process of removing drug from the body) followed by medication, behavioral counseling, evaluation and treatment for co-occurring problems such as depression and anxiety, and long-term follow-up to prevent relapse.

Detox is the first step that makes the body ready to deal with withdrawal symptoms and respond effectively to the medications. Behavioral therapies/counseling help patients bring positive changes in their attitudes and behaviors, adopt healthy practices, and get adjusted to social life again.

The Detox Facilities Texas offers credible information related to effectiveness of detox in addiction treatment and about some of the best rapid detox centers in Texas. If someone in your family is looking for help, you can chat online or call us at 24/7 helpline number 866-671-4308 to get more information.

Read other articles in the series “Risky cocktails:”

  1. Alcohol and marijuana
  2. Alcohol and cocaine