Mixing alcohol with other drugs

Alcohol is a drug. When you take alcohol with another drug, there is interaction in your body where one drug alters the other drug’s effects. Mixing alcohol with other drugs can be unpredictable and dangerous. If you take alcohol with other drugs, the effects could be nausea, illness or death.

Alcohol and prescribed medicine

If your GP prescribes medicine for a health condition or illness, you shouldn’t drink alcohol while taking the medicine. Alcohol can stop the benefits medicine has on your body. There are also health risks if you take over-the-counter painkillers or stolen prescription drugs with alcohol.

Alcohol and amphetamines

Amphetamines increase your heart rate, breathing and blood pressure. Taking alcohol and amphetamines together puts pressure on your heart and could cause death. 

Amphetamines can also raise your body temperature and cause dehydration, which is worse if you also drink alcohol. 

As amphetamines can give you a false sense of sobriety, you might drink more to become intoxicated. You can also feel that you have more energy and confidence but, mixed with alcohol, you can become aggressive and paranoid.

Alcohol and cannabis

Alcohol and cannabis together can lead to the cannabis having a stronger effect than normal.  You can also experience physical and psychological side effects.

When using alcohol and cannabis together, you may experience:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • dizziness
  • paranoia
  • panic

Alcohol and cocaine 

Alcohol and cocaine in the bloodstream form a toxic substance known as 'cocaethylene'.  It is more toxic than either drug alone. Cocaethylene is linked to liver damage and can cause fatal heart problems. 

Mixing alcohol and cocaine can give you a false sense of sobriety, so you might drink more to become intoxicated. By taking both drugs together, you’re likely to be aggressive and behave violently.

Alcohol and ecstasy (MDMA)

Alcohol and ecstasy (MDMA) both dehydrate your body. By taking both together, you risk overheating and becoming very dehydrated.

The combination of alcohol and ecstasy puts pressure on your liver and kidneys. This could cause these organs to stop working.

Alcohol and heroin

Heroin slows down your heart rate and breathing. Your risk of overdose increases when you take alcohol with heroin. You might choke if you vomit, as both drugs together impair your gag reflex.

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