5 Dangerous Drug and Alcohol Combinations

What do Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith, Heath Ledger, and Whitney Houston have in common? They were celebrities who all died from lethal drug or alcohol combinations.

And they’re not the first. Have you ever wondered whether it’s okay to drink alcohol and take Vicodin? Or is it safe to mix percocet and mollyl? How lethal are these drug combinations? Are you, in your quest to overcome tolerance and create a bigger high, putting yourself at risk? Whether done purposefully or accidentally, all of the following dangerous drug or alcohol combinations come with a heavy price tag:

1. Is it Safe to Mix Xanax and Percocet? (Depressants and Opioids)

It is never safe to mix Xanax and Percocet. Since both opioids and depressants have similar effects, the biggest risk is respiratory depression or stopped breathing.

Note: Sometimes your doctor will prescribe Percocet and Xanax together due to special circumstances (post-anesthesia anxiety, after surgery). This is usually safe, since your doctor will know the safe dosages of each, as well as your medical history. Any more than the prescribed amount, however, and you’re treading dangerous waters.

2. Can I Mix Xanax With Alcohol? (Depressants With Depressants or Sleeping Pills)

Xanax and alcohol are both Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants. (The central nervous system includes the brain and spinal cord.) They work by slowing down the brain, and subsequently, many other body systems. Xanax and alcohol both affect the crucial area of your brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is responsible for regulating heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, temperature, and many other vital functions. When Xanax and alcohol are taken together, the additive effects can lead to dangerously slowed breathing and heart rates.

While this holds true for all depressant drugs —Valium, Klonopin, Ambien, and Sonata—Xanax is by far the most dangerous when used in combination with alcohol because it is more fast-acting than the others.

3. Is it Safe to Take Vicodin or OxyContin With Alcohol? (Opioids With Alcohol)

Opioids are also considered CNS depressants, so they will react with alcohol in a similar way as depressant drugs react with alcohol. In addition to sedation, many opioids inhibit the coughing reflex, which places an individual at high risk for aspiration, pneumonia and choking. This creates a dangerous effect that could stop breathing altogether.

Opioids include Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin, Opana, and Dilaudid. Learn more about Vicodin.

4. Can I Take Meth or Cocaine at the Same Time as Alcohol? (Stimulants and Alcohol)

Stimulant drugs such as cocaine, Ritalin, or meth can have detrimental effects on your body when combined with alcohol. In fact, mixing stimulants with alcohol is more dangerous than alcohol consumption alone because stimulants give users a false sense of sobriety. You might feel that you are not as drunk as you actually are and then drink beyond your physical limit. Or worse, stimulants can even hide the signs of an overdose. This delusion causes individuals to consume much more alcohol than normal—until it’s too late.

5. How Bad is it to Mix Ritalin With Vicodin? (Opioids and Stimulants: The “Speed Ball”)

It seems contradictory that you shouldn’t mix these two classes, because they seem to have opposite effects. After all, stimulants such as Ritalin or Adderall speed things up, and opioids such as Heroin, Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, Opana and Dilaudid slow things down. So what’s the danger?

Taking stimulants with opioids is like playing cardiovascular tug-of-war: the stimulants tell your heart to speed up, and the opioids tell it to slow down. This could lead to fatal effects such as heart dysrhythmias or heart failure.

Even though they have opposite effects, nothing “cancels out,” and the risk for overdose is still there. Even more dangerous is the way stimulants can mask the symptoms of opioid overdose. A person could continue to take high doses of the drug without knowing he was already in the danger zone.


General Principles About Mixing Drugs

The average reader can spot similarities and patterns in the rationales listed above. These patterns point to general principles you can apply to any drug combination:

Never mix like with like. Drugs with similar effects can easily lead to overdose. Mixing opioids with opioids (Valium with Percocet) or depressants with depressants (Xanax with Valium), and stimulants with stimulants (cocaine and meth) also produces lethal drug combinations.
Be cautious when mixing alcohol with anything. Alcohol interacts with most if not all of the potentially addictive drugs.
Stimulants and depressants stresses out your body. They both have opposite effects, which screws up your body’s natural homeostasis and places a greater burden on your heart.