Why alcohol and cocaine addictions often go hand in hand

kicking addiction, alcohol cocaine addiction

Alcohol and cocaine are two drugs that are often used together. Many people combine the two substances to feel greater effects from each one. 

It’s common for people to use cocaine to reduce the lethargy and inebriation brought about by consuming too much alcohol. Conversely, alcohol is used to prolong the highs of cocaine and help ease users’ nerves and jitteriness when they’re regularly consuming cocaine. 

Cocaine and alcohol have the reputation as party drugs. They’ve been portrayed as the ‘go to’ drugs of choice for people looking to have a good time in TV, cinema, books and the news. 

It’s no surprise then that they’re often taken together in social situations like when friends meet. The use of alcohol and cocaine is widespread and abuse of these substances can lead to damaging addiction, loss of employment and a strained family life. 

But why do people so oftenly take cocaine and alcohol together? We’ll explain the reasons why in this article.   


Cocaine and alcohol abuse, the facts

If you’re in doubt about whether there really is a link between alcohol and cocaine use, the figures below will prove beyond any doubt that cocaine and alcohol abuse go hand in hand.

A US based study into the joint use of alcohol and cocaine found that more than 40% of cocaine dependent individuals also reported lifetime alcohol use. Some studies indicated that this figure could be as high as 60%.

Furthermore, some studies have reported that upto 70% of adolescents who used cocaine for the first time did so whilst simultaneously under the influence of alcohol. As well as this the study also showed that the use of cocaine by heavy drinkers can lead to a fourfold increase in the chance of developing alcohol dependence.    

Another study by the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) suggested that around 32% of all drug abuse emergencies in American A&E departments in 2009 involved the use of alcohol. Out of this 32% the second more common drug found within a patient’s toxicology screening was cocaine.  

Lastly, concurrent use of alcohol and cocaine is also associated with an increased likelihood of suicidal and homicidal behaviour and the combined use of cociane and alcohol can increaase the risk of sudden death from cardiotoxic effects from 18% to 25%.

With figures and facts like these it’s easy to see the undeniable link between cocaine and alcohol abuse.


What are the effects of taking cocaine and alcohol together on the human body? 

Combining alcohol and cocaine can cause several chemical processes to happen in a user’s body that can facilitate addictive behaviours. 

When a human metabolises cocaine it can lead a person’s body to increase the concentration of alcohol in the blood, otherwise known as the blood alcohol concentration (BAC). This means when a person is drinking alcohol and taking cocaine they’ll feel greater ‘positive’ effects from the alcohol. 

At the same time, cocaine is used to diminish the negative effects alcohol has on a person. Namely, it reduces the feelings of lethargy and helps individuals retain their motor functions after consuming a large amount of alcohol. 

In a nutshell, many users and addicts take cocaine to ‘sober up’ after drinking a lot of alcohol; this in turn gives them more energy to continue drinking. 

Conversely, alcohol is known to increase the psychological effects of cocaine, mainly the euphoria caused by it. When cocaine is mixed with alcohol in a person’s blood it creates a molecule called cocaethylene. This molecule has similar properties to cocaine but lasts much longer in a person’s blood which extends the high brought about by cocaine.  

Combined together cocaine and alcohol allow users to continue taking drugs for longer and at greater quantities which can lead to adverse health effects on the body which need acute medical treatment. 

Reports suggest that cocaethylene could be responsible for the increased cardiotoxicity that is linked with concurrent cocaine and alcohol use. In plain English that means cocaethylene can cause serious and lasting damage to a user’s heart muscle in a very brief period of time. 


Do you know someone who’s suffering from cocaine and alcohol addiction? Get them the help they need today

Seeing a loved one, family member or friend suffering from drug addiction can be extremely tough. It can feel like there’s no way out of the situation for them or you. The first step to rehabilitation is alway the hardest but Sanctum is here to help.

We help people suffering from a variety of addictions overcome their problems in our industry leading, discrete, addiction recovery clinic based in Wilmslow. If you’d like to speak with one of our team about our addiction services you can get in touch here.  

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