Combining Alcohol and Other Drugs

2011/06/06 in Alcohol and Drugs

Combining alcohol with other drugs is very dangerous. First, because use or possession of drugs or alcohol by youth under 21 is against the law, and, second, because it could kill you.

Alcohol is a drug that depresses the central nervous system. It works like a downer. It may be hard to believe that alcohol is a depressant because one or two drinks often makes you feel up and happy. But more than a few drinks, and your speech becomes slurred, your judgment is affected, and your muscle coordination is off. These are signs that both your body and mind are slowing down. Enough alcohol will put you to sleep. Alcohol combined with other downers is one of the most common causes of accidental overdose and death. Alcohol and downers work on your central nervous system in the same way they both depress it. And when they’re combined, the effect of the two drugs on the body doesn’t just increase, it’s multiplied in ways that can’t be predicted.

Basically, downers fall into two groups; barbiturates and tranquilizers.

Among the barbiturates are Nembutal, Tuinal, Seconal, and Phenobarbital. Some slang terms for them are goof balls, barbs, reds, tuies and nemmies.

Tranquilizers include the brand names Valium, Librium, Xanax and Ativan. Sleeping pills such as Dalmane and Halcion also have a tranquilizing effect. Mixing any of these or other downers with alcohol could be the last thing you’ll ever do. There just is no way of knowing what effect the combination will have on your body.

When you combine alcohol and uppers, you’re using one drug, alcohol, to slow down your body functions, and another drug to speed them up. The two drugs send totally different messages to your body, and it doesn’t know what to do. It can freak out, causing feelings of anxiety, extremely high blood pressure or burst blood vessels. Your heart may even stop.

Uppers include amphetamines that are often referred to as “speed.” Some trade names are Methedrine and Benzedrine, or Meth and Bennies, and Dexedrine, or Dexies. Diet pills are also amphetamines. Other names for speed are crank, purple hearts, and ice. Cocaine, often referred to as coke, rock or crack is another type of upper.

Combining alcohol with over-the-counter antihistamines such as cold pills or allergy capsules like Contact can also be dangerous, especially if you drive. Your thinking will be slightly off and so will your coordination. Behind the wheel you could be a real danger to yourself and to others.

Alcohol can also wipe out the effect of certain kinds of medications, like antibiotics, and make them totally useless in the treatment of health problems.

Combining alcohol and other drugs is, at the very least, a risky business and, at most, a life threatening situation.

If you have questions or concerns about drugs, we suggest that you discuss them with your parents, a school counselor, or contact 2-1-1′s Teen Line, by dialing 2-1-1 or 954-567-8336 (TEEN).


Teen Tapes is produced by the University of Wisconsin, Madison.