Mixing Cocaine and Alcohol

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Mixing alcohol and cocaine is inadvisable under any circumstances.

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While all forms of polysubstance abuse are dangerous, this mix is especially damaging.

Both cocaine addiction and alcoholism are on the rise in the United States. Pre-pandemic, 1 million U.S. adults currently meet the criteria for cocaine addiction (stimulant use disorder) and 14.5 million over-18s meet the criteria for alcoholism (alcohol use disorder). Data from NSDUH 2021 shows that 1.4 million U.S. adults were addicted to cocaine and 29.5 million were addicted to alcohol (alcoholics) in 2021.

Drinking and cocaine do not mix and today’s guide outlines the many reasons why combining these substances is risky.

The Effects of Mixing Cocaine and Alcohol

The combination of cocaine and alcohol can have severe and potentially dangerous effects on the body.

Cocaine is a Schedule II controlled stimulant that increases heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature, while alcohol is a CNS depressant that slows down bodily functions and impairs judgment. Mixing coke and alcohol results in a dangerous cocktail that can have adverse effects on physical and mental health.

One of the most significant risks of mixing cocaine and alcohol is the potential for overdose. The combination of these substances can create a toxic byproduct called cocaethylene, which can be more toxic than either substance in isolation. This can trigger heart attacks, seizures, and other severe health complications. Not only that, but alcohol and anxiety, as well as alcohol and depression are linked and can increase with cocaine use. Additionally, the mixture of cocaine and alcohol can lead to a heightened risk of dehydration, potentially leading to kidney damage or kidney failure. 

Other effects of mixing cocaine and alcohol include: 


      • Increased heart rate and blood pressure

      • Rapid breathing

      • Anxiety

      • Agitation

      • Impaired judgment and decision-making

      • Insomnia

      • Decreased appetite

      • Aggression

      • Hallucinations

    Mixing alcohol and cocaine may also lead to long-term damage to the heart, liver, and other organs.

    Can Cocaine and Alcohol be Mixed?

    Cocaine and alcohol are often mixed together, despite the dangerous and potentially lethal consequences.

    Many people mix cocaine and alcohol to intensify the effects of both drugs, to enhance euphoria and energy, and to feel more confident and sociable. That said, this combination can be extremely risky and can lead to:


        • Addiction

        • Overdose

        • Serious health complications

      The combination of cocaine and alcohol can also prompt unpredictable reactions in the body, making it difficult to determine how much of either substance is safe to use. Beyond this, the effects of cocaine and alcohol can mask each other, leading to a false sense of sobriety or heightened energy. Oftentimes, this leads to dangerous and reckless behavior.

      Combining coke and alcohol can also create cocaethylene, a toxic byproduct.

      An image of man sitting on a couch learning about the dangers of mixing cocaine and alcohol

      What is Cocaethelyne?

      Cocaethylene is a toxic chemical that is created when cocaine and alcohol are combined in the body. It is formed when cocaine and alcohol are metabolized in the liver, and it can have serious health consequences. Cocaethylene is similar in structure to cocaine and it can produce similar effects on the brain, including:


          • Feelings of euphoria

          • Increased energy

          • Decreased appetite

        Cocaethylene is more dangerous than either cocaine or alcohol alone, as it can cause long-lasting damage to the liver, heart, and other organs. The elimination half-life of cocaethylene is much longer than that of cocaine, meaning that it stays in the body for longer periods and can have a more prolonged effect.

        Cocaethylene effects on the body include:


            • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature

            • Seizures

            • Liver damage

            • Heart failure

          Additionally, cocaethylene can impair judgment and decision-making, leading to risky and dangerous behaviors.

          How is Cocaethylene Produced?

          Cocaethylene is produced in the liver when cocaine and alcohol are ingested together. When you consume cocaine, the substance is broken down in the liver into various metabolites, including benzoylecgonine. This primary metabolite of cocaine is then excreted from your body through your urine. When you consume alcohol, though, this blocks the normal breakdown of benzoylecgonine, instead allowing it to react with other compounds in the liver. This process results in the creation of cocaethylene.

          The production of cocaethylene is influenced by several factors, including:


              • Amount and frequency of cocaine and alcohol use

              • Metabolism

              • Presence of liver disease

            Those who combine cocaine and alcohol frequently and in large amounts are at a greater risk of producing cocaethylene in their bodies. Additionally, people with liver disease or impaired liver function may also be more susceptible to the formation of cocaethylene.

            Once cocaethylene is produced, it can remain in the body for much longer than cocaine or alcohol alone. This can lead to prolonged and potentially dangerous effects on the body, including increased heart rate and blood pressure, liver damage, and other health problems.

            Cocaethylene Hangover

            After using cocaine and alcohol together, many people experience what is known as a cocaethylene hangover. This hangover can be more intense and longer-lasting than a typical alcohol or cocaine hangover and can have several unpleasant and dangerous symptoms. 

            Symptoms of a cocaethylene hangover can include:


                • Nausea

                • Headaches

                • Fatigue

                • Anxiety

                • Depression

              Additionally, cocaethylene can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes, which can lead to more severe and life-threatening symptoms. People who experience a cocaethylene hangover may also encounter a craving for more cocaine and alcohol, which can trigger ongoing drug use and the development of addiction.

              The Dangers of Using Cocaine to Sober Up

              Many people who drink alcohol also use cocaine to sober up and feel more alert and awake. Using cocaine to counteract the effects of alcohol is dangerous, though, and it can lead to negative consequences.

              When cocaine and alcohol are used together, they produce cocaethylene, a toxic and highly addictive substance that can have serious health consequences. Additionally, cocaine can mask the effects of alcohol, leading people to believe that they are more sober than they actually are. This can lead to dangerous and reckless behavior, such as driving while impaired, alcohol addiction, or engaging in other risky activities.

              Using cocaine to sober up can also accelerate the development of addiction and physical and dependence on both cocaine and alcohol. Those who use cocaine to counteract the effects of alcohol may also develop a tolerance to both substances, meaning that they will need higher and higher doses to achieve the same effects.

              Safer Alternatives

              There are several safer alternatives to mixing cocaine and alcohol.

              One alternative is to choose non-alcoholic beverages that provide a similar sensation to alcohol, such as mocktails or non-alcoholic beer or wine. These beverages can still provide a social and enjoyable experience without the negative effects of alcohol.

              Another alternative is to engage in activities that promote relaxation and stress relief, such as meditation, exercise, or spending time connecting with nature. These activities can help you to feel more relaxed and focused without the need for drugs or alcohol.

              If you are struggling with addiction to either cocaine or alcohol or both, seeking professional help can expedite your recovery. A variety of treatment options are available, including therapy, support groups, and medication-assisted treatment, all of which may help you to overcome addiction and initiate a lasting, meaningful recovery.

              Common Misconceptions

              There are several common misconceptions about mixing cocaine and alcohol that can lead to dangerous and harmful behaviors.

              One misconception is that using cocaine and alcohol together can help you to feel more alert and focused. As outlined, using these substances together can lead to the production of cocaethylene, a toxic and highly addictive substance that can have serious health consequences. 

              Another misconception is that using cocaine to counteract the effects of alcohol is a safe and effective method of sobering up. Instead, using cocaine to counteract the effects of alcohol can be dangerous and lead to addiction and other negative consequences.

              Finally, some people believe that they can control their use of cocaine and alcohol and avoid addressing the issue of addiction. While cocaine addiction and alcoholism respond positively to science-backed treatment, both conditions typically worsen if untreated.

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              Get Free from Alcohol and Cocaine at California Detox

              If you have developed physical dependence or a diagnosable addiction to alcohol or cocaine, we offer a variety of treatment programs at California Detox in Laguna Beach.

              Take advantage of the smoothest pathway to inpatient or outpatient rehab with our supervised medical detox program. Access medications to streamline withdrawal and mitigate cravings. Detox addresses the issue of physical dependence, allowing you to transition into one of the following treatment programs:


                  • Inpatient program (residential rehab)

                  • PHP (partial hospitalization program)

                  • IOP (intensive outpatient program)

                  • OP (outpatient program)

                  • Virtual IOP (remote rehab program)

                  • Dual diagnosis treatment program (for co-occurring disorders)

                All California Detox treatment programs provide individualized treatment that combines evidence-based interventions and holistic therapies for a whole-body approach to addiction recovery. These include:


                    • MAT (medication-assisted treatment)

                    • Group counseling

                    • Individual counseling

                    • Psychotherapy (CBT and DBT)

                    • Family therapy

                    • Holistic therapy

                  When you complete your California Detox treatment program, you can step down to a less intensive form of treatment or move back into day-to-day life. You will have an aftercare plan that includes relapse prevention techniques to maximize your chance of sustained recovery from addiction at our cocaine and alcohol rehab. Call admissions at 949.694.8305 for immediate assistance.


                  Mixing cocaine and alcohol together can produce a toxic and highly addictive substance called cocaethylene, which can have serious health consequences. It can also lead to dangerous and reckless behavior and can increase the risk of addiction and other negative consequences.
                  Cocaethylene has a longer half-life than cocaine or alcohol alone, which means it stays in the body for a longer period of time. It can remain in the body for up to five times longer than cocaine alone and can lead to an increased risk of negative health effects.


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