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Mixing Heroin with Alcohol  — A Dangerous Combination

Medically Reviewed by: Charley Allen

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Mixing Heroin with Alcohol

Mixing Heroin with Alcohol  — A Dangerous Combination

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In the case of mixing heroin and alcohol, one plus one does not equal two.

Alcohol and Heroin bring bodily functions to a slow crawl and risk permanent cessation of systems altogether. There are many dangers of mixing alcohol and heroin, including severe brain damage.

In other words, these two substances, when taken at the same time, multiply the resulting effect. Heroin plus alcohol often leads to much more dire—and often fatal—consequences.

Dangers of Mixing Alcohol and Heroin

The overwhelming majority of heroin overdoses are caused by combining heroin with alcohol or other drugs, especially sedatives.[1] This is because both heroin and alcohol are depressants, meaning they lower blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory output (i.e.  slows breathing). In other words, heroin and alcohol bring bodily functions to a slow crawl and risk permanent cessation of systems altogether.[2]

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, addiction to alcohol often precedes heroin use:

People who are addicted to alcohol are twice as likely to become addicted to Heroin at some point in their lifetimes. People who are addicted to one of the substances will often begin to combine it with the other in order to increase the sedative effects of each drug and achieve a stronger high. Due to the ways that the two substances affect the brain, the intoxication that results from mixing them is much more intense than using just one of them on their own.[3]

Furthermore, users often experience greater intoxication when alcohol is mixed with narcotics like heroin, making it easier to drink to excess and risk alcohol poisoning.

Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Heroin

According to an article on the website for Alcohol Rehab Guide, some severe side effects of mixing heroin and alcohol include:

  • Severe fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Weak pulse
  • Shallow breathing
  • Impaired coordination
  • Respiratory depression
  • Tremors
  • Slowed or irregular heart rate
  • Coma

Other chronic side effects include:

  • Collapsed veins
  • Insomnia
  • Infection of the heart lining and valves
  • Damaged tissue
  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Depression
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Sexual dysfunction

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[1] Mixing Heroin Alcohol Drugs

[2] Heroin Overdose

[3] Drinking Drugs Heroin

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David moved to California from his hometown in North Carolina after multiple failed attempts to get sober. While living in an all-male sober living, David started to excel as a leader and mentor. These skills and tools ended up being the catalyst for his recovery and ultimately the foundation he has today. David has a passion for helping young men and sharing his experience. After working in the treatment industry he noticed a serious need for ethical sober living facilities. This prior work experience brought about David’s idea and drive to open Design For Recovery. He’s ambitious to promote growth and change within each individual client that enters the house. David has a strong presence in the house and continues to be part of mentoring young men on a daily basis.


Edited by: David Beasley

David Beasley - Design for Recovery

David Beasley is a certified RADT (Registered Alcohol/Drug Technician). David, moved to California from North Carolina after many failed attempts to get sober.

Medically Reviewed by: Charley Allen

Charley earned his Masters of Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, Los Angeles, and is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).He teaches mindfulness to both adults and children in group setting such as schools, corporate workplaces, and medical treatment facilities.

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