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Dangers of Mixing Prescription Drugs and Alcohol

a woman struggles with polysubstance abuse and mixing prescription drugs and alcohol

Polysubstance abuse refers to the abuse of more than one drug, or drug and alcohol, at the same time. Many over-the-counter medications pose no risk when taken with alcohol, while others do. The biggest risk is prescription medications taken with alcohol, whether the prescription is taken as instructed or not. Being aware of drug interactions is important if you are a drinker, especially if you or a loved one has an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Prescription drug addiction treatment in Ohio at Evoke Wellness treats polysubstance abuse safely.

To learn more about prescription drugs and alcohol, contact Evoke Wellness Ohio by filling out this online form or simply calling us at 866.430.9267.

Dangers of Mixing Prescription Drugs and Alcohol

A number of medications used for common ailments interact with alcohol to some extent. If you take any medication, prescribed or over-the-counter, check with your physician about interactions with alcohol. Some of the conditions that are treated with medications that could be risky with alcohol include:

  • Angina
  • Anxiety
  • ADHD
  • Blood clots
  • Cold/flu/allergies
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Indigestion/heartburn
  • Infections
  • Insomnia
  • Mood disorders
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Seizures

However, the most dangerous prescription medications, when mixed with alcohol, are typically opioids prescribed for pain and stimulants prescribed for attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Polysubstance Abuse: Combining Opioids with Alcohol

Over-the-counter pain medications carry their own risks, but if you have been prescribed an opioid for pain, do not combine it with alcohol. Some of the prescription painkillers to look out for include:

  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Fentanyl

These medications, when combined with alcohol, increase your risk of respiratory suppression, which can lead to overdose and death. Alcohol is a factor in about 20% of opioid-related deaths. Both alcohol and opioids are depressants that result in sedation and slowed reaction time. Alcohol- and opioid-related traffic deaths are also significantly increased when the other drug is present as well.

Often, people who become addicted to prescription opioids turn to street drugs like heroin if it becomes difficult to refill prescriptions. The risks are the same but can be greater as there is no way to know what the drug is cut with or its potency.

Polysubstance Abuse: Combining Stimulants with Alcohol

Stimulants are most often prescribed for ADHD, but also for narcolepsy. These drugs include:

  • Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine)
  • Ritalin and Concerta (methylphenidate)
  • Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine)
  • Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine)

When used correctly, they increase energy and alertness to speed up the mental processes that create focus for people with ADHD who cannot function well when sustained attention is required. When abused, these drugs create euphoric levels of high energy that result in an eventual crash.

When prescription stimulants are abused, they are usually acquired illegitimately, such as purchased from a friend who has a prescription or bought on the street. When combined with alcohol, stimulants such as Ritalin, Adderall, or Concerta mask the effects of alcohol. Because the energizing speediness of the stimulant combats the depressant effects of the alcohol, people cannot tell how intoxicated they are until it is potentially too late. Over-consumption of alcohol while taking a stimulant results in significant impairment, slowed responses, poor judgment, blackouts, and possibly death. The risk of a car accident spikes as well.

Contact Evoke Wellness Ohio Today to Access Polysubstance Abuse Treatment

If you are struggling with alcohol and prescription medications of any kind, reach out to us to learn more about the risks and how we can help. You may be surprised to realize you cannot eliminate alcohol from your lifestyle when you are put on a medication that counteracts it. This is one way people realize they may have a problem. This can be a shock.

Our professional, compassionate staff understands the ins and outs of polysubstance abuse and can help you. Our evidence-based treatments and high level of wrap-around care are the best way to begin your recovery. Call 866.430.9267 today or submit this online contact form to connect with us.