Mixing alcohol and prescription medications is a dangerous practice that can result in life-threatening risks. Some people may mix medication and alcohol to experience a greater high, increase the effects of the medication, or are simply unaware of the dangers. Whatever the reason, combining prescription medications and alcohol can have serious life-threatening consequences.
There are a variety of different prescription medications, however, most people commonly abuse the substances below.
These medications are prescribed to relieve pain, but can also slow the heart rate, slow or stop breathing, and cause unconsciousness. These types of drugs include codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and methadone. The risks associated with mixing these with alcohol is life-threatening.
These types of drugs are most commonly prescribed to treat anxiety and insomnia. Examples include benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and sleep medications. They can lower blood pressure and cause respiratory distress when abused or combined with alcohol.
These types of medications are used to treat narcolepsy, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and obesity. Amphetamines and methylphenidate are examples of stimulants. When abused, stimulants can cause heart issues, such as high blood pressure and heart attack, seizures, increased metabolism, and stroke.
Prescription drug addiction and abuse is an increasingly prevalent issue in society. According to a 2015 study by the National Institute of Health, nearly 42% of adults in America who drink reported using medications known to interact with alcohol; among people aged 65 and older, the number increased to 78%. This is most likely due to the fact that older people often take multiple prescription medications and are unaware of the risks when drinking alcohol on these medications.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in about 19% of opioid painkiller-related emergency room visits, alcohol had been consumed. In over 22% of cases of deaths due to prescription medications, alcohol was also a factor.
Knowledge is power- it is important to be educated on the risks associated with prescription medication. Knowing about the risks as well as the dangers of mixing drugs and alcohol will help avoid potentially deadly situations.