The Knockout Combo You Don’t Want - Cocaine and Alcohol


By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and many people are already aware that an addiction to alcohol can be detrimental to their physical and mental health.

But it’s not uncommon for people to have multiple addictions. Many have other addictions in addition to alcohol. For example, according to a recent report, more than half of people with a cocaine addiction also have an alcohol addiction.

Cocaine is a naturally, occurring anesthetic or pain blocker that is extracted from the leaves of the Erythroxylon coca plant.

Reportedly, in 1884 an Austrian ophthalmologist first used cocaine as an anesthetic during an eye surgery. Once healthcare professionals learned that cocaine is extremely addictive, safer anesthetics were created.

But the problem is that cocaine is now used as an illegal recreational drug. And alcohol and cocaine can be a lethal combination.

What are the dangers of alcohol and cocaine abuse together?

Cocaine makes you less aware of how intoxicated you may be getting from drinking alcohol.

Alcohol makes you drowsy. It is a depressant, meaning it slows down your brain and central nervous system.

On the other hand, cocaine makes you more alert because it is a stimulant which means that it speeds up your brain’s activity. Cocaine is actually the most powerful stimulant of natural origin.

(Caffeine is also a stimulant but nowhere near as strong of a stimulant as cocaine is).

So if you use cocaine while you are drinking alcohol, you may drink a lot more than most people could even handle because the cocaine may keep you awake when you would otherwise pass out from drinking too much. This could lead to alcohol poisoning. And if you are drinking heavily, you may be less aware of how much cocaine you are taking, increasing the likelihood of overdosing from cocaine.

Both of these substances enhance the effect of the other, which can lead to risky, impulsive and/or violent behavior. It may even double your risk of suicide.

When alcohol and cocaine are metabolised in the liver, they mix to form cocaethylene. This chemical is more potent, longer lasting, and more dangerous than cocaine alone. Studies have shown that you are about 20 times more likely to die from cocaethylene than from cocaine alone because of the damage it does to your heart,” states the recent report.

The combination of cocaine and alcohol can also put a major strain on your liver, brain (can actually change the structure of the brain) and kidneys.

And while some people who abuse cocaine and alcohol may not have yet experienced the extent of damage this type of substance abuse can cause to vital organs, they may be suffering the consequences of severe nutritional deficiency.

We have previously discussed alcohol and nutrient depletion. Individuals who abuse alcohol tend to have poor diets that are void of essential nutrients. “In addition, people who drink a lot of alcohol suffer from poor digestion and have trouble absorbing nutrients,” according to various reports, including this report.

Cocaine may also suppress your appetite and cause you to lose fat.

(This is why you may have heard of famous models who suffered from cocaine addiction when they were put under immense pressure to lose weight).

People who abuse cocaine tend to be underweight and/or undernourished. Cocaine use may also cause deficiencies in B vitamins and vitamin C.

B vitamins are critical for cell metabolism and immune and nervous system function. And vitamin C is important for immune function and so much more.

Nutritional deficiency in combination with drug abuse may increase risk of developing the metabolic syndrome by augmenting cell damage, excitotoxicity, reducing energy production, and lowering the antioxidant potential of the cells,” according to this report.

If you suffer from alcohol and cocaine addiction or know someone who does, just remember the negative health consequences and identify relevant resources you can use to help kick these debilitating addictions.

When addicts ween off their substances of choice, they may experience mood swings and depression. To read about foods that may help prevent and treat depression, read here.

Finally, nutritional testing may be important for those who are recovering from drug abuse.  These tests will determine if you have any nutrient imbalances or deficiencies. And if you can pinpoint these, you can develop a plan of attack to get your body nutritionally balanced. You may have to do this through tweaks to your diet, supplementation or both. Being nutritionally balanced may help you better manage your recovery process.

Enjoy your healthy life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.


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