If you’re thinking about mixing these two powerful drugs: Don’t. Lots of things can go wrong when you mix crack and alcohol, and the consequences range from bad to worse. The deadly concoction can result in overdose or even death.


The very idea of mixing crack and alcohol may seem ludicrous (as does smoking crack itself), but the practice isn’t uncommon among addicts. There’s a nickname for it, in fact: speedballing. Crack causes a number of unpleasant hyperactive symptoms (tremors, talkativeness, vertigo, etc), and many addicts believe that the calming effects of alcohol will cancel these out. The truth is that alcohol, as a central nervous system stimulant, can actually lengthen the duration of these symptoms and even intensify them.


And when alcohol does act as a sedative, as desired, it’s still dangerous, because the back-and-forth activity in the nervous system can cause bodily shutdown. The depressant effects addicts are seeking out can be made stronger by the crack, putting the user at high risk for alcohol poisoning (the heart, lungs, and organs slowing to the point that they become completely inactive).


The negative effects run vice-versa, too: crack makes alcohol more dangerous. It enhances the absorption and metabolism of alcohol, making it stronger and more intoxicating. Inhibitions are already severely decreased when we use alcohol by itself. With crack thrown into the mix, your confidence is through the roof. You’re even more likely to act recklessly than you normally would while drunk.


Crack and alcohol enhance each other. They each make the other more powerful. When combined, these drugs create a third chemical that is highly dangerous: cocaethylene. Produced in the liver, cocaethylene is a deadly substance that makes your heart weak, your breathing shallow, and your life expectancy short. For this reason, speedballs can, and often do, result in death. Although crack cocaine is never safe or advisable, addicts should be advised that, in the event that they do ingest the drug, they should never consume alcohol as well. Speedball overdoses aren’t a far-fetched concept; they account for a significant chunk of overdose deaths throughout the US, as do combinations of illicit drugs in general–especially those that include alcohol.


It’s not uncommon for those addicted to one drug to also be addicted to others. When addressing the risks an addict is putting on themselves, friends and family should consider which drugs they are mixing.

These and other common questions can be answered by our medical staff a Treatment Now.

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