Skip navigation and jump to content
Welcome to Ireland's Youth Information Website
Follow us
Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Snapchat

Accessibility Options

High Contrast Text Size

Mixing alcohol and other drugs

Alcohol and other drugs can interact with each other in ways you don't expect


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health


Share this article -

It’s always safer not to take drugs at all. However, if you do decide to take drugs, it becomes much less safe if you take different kinds of drugs at the one time, or take drugs with alcohol.

Why is mixing drugs and alcohol more dangerous?

Mixing similar drugs, such as alcohol and heroin, both of which are depressants, can multiply the effects of the drug on your body.

  • Mixing different kinds of drugs, such as cocaine with is a stimulant, and alcohol, which is a depressant, can have competing effects on your body, which puts pressure on your heart.
  • The drugs could interact in ways you don’t expect.
  • All of this can combine to increase risk of overdose and death.

The way different drugs interact varies:

Alcohol and cannabis

Using alcohol and cannabis together can have really unpredictable effects. Generally, drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis together can make the effects of the cannabis much stronger. This makes many people experience nausea and vomiting. It can also lead to panic, paranoia and anxiety.

Alcohol and cocaine

When taken together, alcohol and cocaine produce a substance in your liver called Cocaethylene. This is highly toxic, and increased the risk of heart failure. It also makes you more likely to become aggressive.

Alcohol and ecstasy

Drinking alcohol while you’re on ecstasy can make your come down the next day much worse. It also greatly increases your risk of dangerous dehydration, nausea and vomiting.

Alcohol and amphetamines (speed)

The combination of speed and alcohol can increase your body temperature and dehydrate you. It also puts added pressure on your heart, which could result in heart failure. You also may become anxious, aggressive or paranoids.

Alcohol and heroin

This is an especially dangerous combination. Even having a small amount of alcohol in your system, greatly increases your chance of overdosing if you take heroin.

Alcohol and prescription medication

There are certain prescription medications that you shouldn’t drink alcohol with, as it can have a range of negative effects. Talk to your doctor and read the label carefully to discern whether it’s ok to drink alcohol or not.

Ecstasy and cannabis

Many people smoke weed when they are on ecstasy to help them calm down, but often, it can have the opposite effect, making you even more anxious or paranoid.

Heroin and cocaine

Again, it is particularly dangerous to mix heroin and cocaine.This is sometimes known as a ‘speedball’. The pressure that these two drugs put on your body can very easily lead to overdose.

Remember, you can never really know what you’re getting with illegal drugs, so you can never predict the effects for sure.

Find out more on AskAboutAlcohol.ie

Share this article -

Published October 13th, 2017
Last updated October 23rd, 2017
Tags alcohol drugs
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

Need more information?

Request to speak with a youth worker in your area over the phone, by email or text. They may be able to assist you by providing further information specific to your needs.

Youth Work Ireland - Crosscare - YMCA

Contact via: Phone E-mail Text
By clicking submit you agree to our terms and conditions. ​Please note that this service is run by Youth Work Ireland and Crosscare​.​ E​nquiries are not handled by SpunOut.ie directly.
Jump to related articles
Was this article helpful?