depressed lady

Opioids and Alcohol: A Potentially Fatal Combination

Opioid addiction is an epidemic in the U.S., and the number of fatalities associated with these drugs has increased proportionally. Unfortunately, many prescription drug users aren’t aware of the dangers of mixing their opioids with alcohol, which is why the death toll continues to rise.

The Facts About Opioids and Alcohol

Alcohol significantly increases the risk of accidental death by overdose. Most alcoholics who drink daily will take opioid painkillers if prescribed, assuming there couldn’t be any danger in taking drugs under a doctor’s supervision.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, opioid overdoses accounted for more than 42,000 deaths in 2016. How many lives could we have saved if there were broader awareness of the risks of combining opioids with alcohol?

What Makes It So Dangerous to Combine Opioids and Alcohol?

Alcohol and opioids are two of the most commonly used substances in the U.S. Though the warnings that come with the prescription may caution against taking opioid drugs with other depressants like alcohol, most users aren’t aware of how dangerous it can truly be.

Alcohol can have severe side effects on its own, and when combined with opioids like OxyContin, it can enhance the effects of those drugs in unpredictable ways. Being simultaneously under the influence of two substances sends the brain conflicting signals, which can make it harder for someone to gauge how impaired they have truly become. And, because both alcohol and opioids are highly addictive, using both substances puts people at a much greater risk of developing a cross-addiction, also known as a dual addiction.

Short-term effects of mixing opioids and alcohol include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Apathy
  • Numbness

Long-term effects of mixing opioids and alcohol include:

  • Mood swings
  • Impaired vision
  • Liver disease
  • Risk of overdose and death

Getting Help for Addiction to Alcohol and Opioids

If you have developed an addiction to alcohol, opioids or both, it is vital to seek qualified addiction treatment as soon as possible. For many, long-term sobriety begins with detoxification in a residential setting. If you attempt to quit using alcohol and opioids cold turkey, you can experience withdrawal symptoms that can range from painful to possibly deadly. It’s crucial to find a detox center with professional addiction specialists who can cater to your needs and provide you with a safe, comfortable detox experience.

Don’t let your drug and alcohol use jeopardize your health and your life any further. Inland Detox’s admission specialists are standing by to take your call and to get you started on the first step of your recovery. No matter how long you have been misusing alcohol and opioids, contact us today to get clean and begin building the foundation of your new life that is free from the burdens of drug and alcohol addiction.